UCAS-D Again

By Andrew Burt / March 2, 2011 at 9:37 PM

The Navy launched the Unmanned Combat Air System System Demonstration platform for the second time yesterday, according to chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead.

Speaking at a conference in Arlington, VA this morning, the CNO waxed enthusiastic about the effort. “We just yesterday at 17:00 did our second flight of that airplane,” he said, “and as you would expect precise landing is really important on an aircraft carrier and it nailed it perfectly.”

The platform completed its first successful launch early last month after earlier failed attempts. That attempt had the carrier-launched unmanned aircraft flying for 29 minutes.

Roughead called unmanned carrier aviation a platform that “will change carrier aviation,” saying that its endurance was one of its principal benefits.

“I think there are many opportunities there,” he said. “And not only are we doing the demonstrator, but we've put a marker down to have a squadron on unmanned carrier air in service in 2018 and we're pressing that pretty hard.”

Stay tuned for more information on the second launch. When asked to comment on the test, a Northrop Grumman spokesman declined to comment, saying that a press release would be forthcoming.