Testing of the X-47B continues in earnest, the latest video to capture these tests sees the X-47B performing landing and take-off manoeuvres aboard the USS Theodor Roosevelt. The spectacularly shot video ‘Death is Elsewhere’ features the events of August 17 in up close and personal detail. Each member of the aircraft carriers crew seems to stand to attention to observe the futuristic aircraft doing its thing.
Presented for your viewing pleasure is the high tech wonder that is the X-47B being put through its paces aboard a mobile military fortress. Amazing cinematic footage of the beast performing take-offs landings and flying as a wingman for an F/A-18, all done fully autonomously. Sit back, relax and prepare for the coming of the machines.
The Northrop Grumman X-47B is of course far more than the stealthiest UAV designed to date, it also has the most advanced Artificial Intelligence system ever built into a military machine. AI that’s smart enough to perform take-off and landing manoeuvres on a moving aircraft carrier, another first.
The X-47B doesn’t have a pilot or remote pilot as such; a handler is probably a better name as the X-47B is sent mission objectives via a Control Display Unit worn on the handlers forearm. As the X-47B receives orders it breaks them down and carries them out using GPS, autopilot and collision avoidance sensors.
Alongside the take-off and landing manoeuvres the X-47B spent time on the Roosevelt testing how well the it played as wingman. This should eventually allow a number of X-47B’s to tag along with an F-22 and provide assistance in achieving the mission.
With 2 weapons bays capable of carrying 2,000kg of ordnance the X-47B can hit hard when required. Or it can loiter in relative safety at 40,000 feet observing the ground below. It’s big, relatively fast (.9 mach) and will follow you into any situation where it may just save your bacon.
The only functional question remaining is can the AI perform airborne refueling? The chances are very good and there are a number of articles on the web suggesting the X-47B can indeed refuel in mid air but no publicly available evidence is available to confirm this question, yet.
Surrounded in controversy and concerns that the robot may not obey his master’s voice the X-47B has so far performed every test without question, and flawlessly. The X-47B is an incredible glimpse into the future, a high tech glimpse that sees man and machine fight side by side on the battlefield of the future.