New Carrier UAV to Boost U.S. Intelligence, Offensive Capabilities
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) performs a taxi test in spring 2012 to validate its reliability in preparation for readiness testing this summer at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. (U.S. Navy Photo by Greg Davis)
May 21, 2012
| Security
| Asia and the Pacific
The X-47B unmanned aerial vehicle built by Northrop Grumman (NOC) is not only the first UAV capable of taking off and landing on an aircraft carrier, but is capable of operating autonomously – it has no on-board or remote pilot – and will be a significant combat and intelligence collection tool.

The current absence of carrier-based UAV platforms like the X-47B leaves the U.S. Navy lacking a crucial capability that its companion services already enjoy. LIGNET believes the range of the X-47B could serve as a tactical weapon against China’s increasing missile arsenal aimed at containing U.S. aircraft carriers and accompanying traditional manned aircraft in Pacific theater naval conflicts.

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