September 18, 2016

X47B - world's first autonomous military jet

The X-47B is a tailless jet-powered blended-wing-body aircraft capable of semi-autonomous operation and aerial refuelling.

The X-47B first flew in 2011, and as of 2015, its two active demonstrators have undergone extensive flight and operational integration testing, having successfully performed a series of land- and carrier-based demonstrations.

The X-47B was designed by Northrop Grumman for the US Navy.

Some important features:
- the plane is not a drone there being no pilot either on board or on ground. All decisions are taken by the on-board computer
- the plane can takeoff and land autonomously from a moving aircraft carrier
- the plane can manage touch and go landing on a moving aircraft carrier
- the plane is capable of autonomous mid air refuelling
- the plan can decide which airport to land if a particular strip is not available.
- the plane can understand human hand gestures (important in aircraft carriers).

Some videos... amazing:

Carrier landing

Touch and go landing

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