X-47B Successfuly Completes AAR Mission
Last week, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) made the first connection with the X-47B UAS and an Omega tanker. Taking it slow, they chose not to transfer fuel at that time.
On April 22nd, off the coast of Maryland, the X-47B once more joined up to the Omega K707 tanker and received 4,000lbs of fuel via probe and drogue method often used by the US Navy. The Autonomous Aerial Refueling, or AAR, marks the final test objective under the Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System demonstration program.
“In manned platforms, aerial refueling is a challenging maneuver because of the precision required by the pilot to engage the basket,” said Capt. Beau Duarte, the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager. “Adding an autonomous functionality creates another layer of complexity."
“What we accomplished today demonstrates a significant, groundbreaking step forward for the Navy," said Duarte. “The ability to autonomously transfer and receive fuel in flight will increase the range and flexibility of future unmanned aircraft platforms, ultimately extending carrier power projection."