May 27, 2013 ASDNews Source : US Navy
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) returned to its homeport of Norfolk after a successful completion of new defense testing during a two-week underway period, May 24.
The ship tested a new torpedo self defense system, completed more than 115 launches and landings in assessing a precision landing system, all while launching the first carrier based unmanned aircraft in naval aviation history.
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) was launched from the ship in conjuction with the Navy/Northrop Grumman team, May 14. The unmanned aircraft flew over Maryland's Eastern Shore before landing safely at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
"We saw a small, but significant pixel in the future picture of our Navy as we begin integration of unmanned systems into arguably the most complex warfighting environment that exists today: the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier," said Vice Adm. David Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces.
The X-47B returned to the ship three days later to conduct its first touch-and-go landing on an aircraft carrier. Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the Unmanned Combat Air Systems program manager, took time to thank the crew during an all-hands call May 23, the night before the ship arrived into port.
"I hope all of you are proud of where you're standing," said Engdahl. "It's a changed world now. We launched a few naval aviation firsts and you were all there."
USS George H.W. Bush is in port conducting training operations in preparation for the upcoming underway schedule.