Northrop Grumman and the Navy successfully catapulted the X-47B remotely piloted aircraft demonstrator from the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), according to the company. The tailless aircraft lifted off of the aircraft carrier during a test off the coast of Virginia on May 14, then flew autonomously back to NAS Patuxent River, Md., where it landed 65 minutes later, states the company’s release. “Today’s catapult launch of the X-47B is a momentous feat for naval aviation,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy X-47B program manager. “It proves that the Navy’s goal of operating unmanned systems safely and effectively from aircraft carriers is well on its way to becoming a reality.” Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the X-47B carrier demonstration program. In preparation for the launch, the X-47B completed a series of shore-based catapult shots at NAS Patuxent River.
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.