Category Archives: Aviation

Navy's New Surveillance UAV's First Flight

Navy’s New Surveillance UAV’s First Flight

Northrop Grumman-built Triton unmanned aircraft system completed its first flight May 22 from the company's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. Northrop Grumman Photo

Northrop Grumman-built Triton unmanned aircraft system completed its first flight May 22 from the company’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. Northrop Grumman Photo

The Navy held the first test flight for its next-generation surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle, Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton.

Wednesday’s 80-minute flight, from a Northrop Grumman’s in Palmdale, Calif., will mark the start of flight testing for the Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) system that will bear the bulk of the Navy’s long-range reconnaissance mission into the 21st century. Read More

Navy's Unmanned Carrier Aircraft Performs First Touch and Go

Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aircraft Performs First Touch and Go

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator conducts a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). US Navy Photo

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator conducts a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). US Navy Photo

Less than a week after its historic launch off the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), the Navy’s X-47B demonstration aircraft performed a so-called “touch and go,” landing off the carrier on Friday, Navy officials told USNI News.

The 44,567 pound X-47B hit Bush’s deck and then powered off the end of the carrier. The operation at sea is one step closer for the ultimate goal of the Unmanned Combat Air System Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) — landing on a moving carrier. Read More

Bob Work's Advice for the Pentagon

Bob Work’s Advice for the Pentagon

Former under secretary of the Navy Bob Work. US Navy Photo

Former under secretary of the Navy Bob Work. US Navy Photo

Bob Work — the chief executive officer of Center for a New American Security and former under secretary of the Navy— gave Pentagon leaders advice on how the services should innovate in a time of austerity in Thursday remarks at the EAST: Joint Warfighting 2013 symposium in Virginia Beach, Va.

Work said the greatest threat to U.S. security would be not taking advantage of the current drawdown in resources to create a force structure that makes sense for security threats. The second greatest threat was the current climate of political indecision in Washington. Read More

Admiral: China Will Likely Learn Carrier Ropes Faster than U.S.

Admiral: China Will Likely Learn Carrier Ropes Faster than U.S.

Rear Adm. Ted Branch, commander of Naval Air Force, Atlantic, speaks to Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) in 2012. US Navy Photo

Rear Adm. Ted Branch, commander of Naval Air Force, Atlantic, speaks to Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) in 2012. US Navy Photo

A previous version of this story cited an incorrect figure for the number of lost aircrew in the Navy and Marine Corps from 1949 to 1988. That actual number of was not 5,000, but 8,500. USNI News regrets the error. 

It will take less time for China to learn how to effectively operate aircraft carriers than it took the U.S., the commander of the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic air arm, Rear Adm. Ted Branch said Wednesday. Read More

Navy Makes History With Unmanned Carrier Launch

Navy Makes History With Unmanned Carrier Launch

The U.S. Navy ushered in a new era in aviation with Tuesday’s launch of the first autonomous jet from an aircraft carrier.

The angular X-47B flew from deck of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) launched from the same steam catapult that’s pushed manned fighters into the sky for decades — but without a cockpit or a pilot. Read More

Nimitz Leaves Busan for Sea of Japan

Nimitz Leaves Busan for Sea of Japan

Army Gen. James D. Thurman, commander, United Nations Command, Republic of Korea - United States Combined Forces command, and United States Forces Korea onboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on May, 11 2013. US Navy Photo

Army Gen. James D. Thurman, commander, United Nations Command, Republic of Korea – United States Combined Forces command, and United States Forces Korea onboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on May, 11 2013. US Navy Photo

Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) has left Busan, Korea for joint exercises between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea, according to a Monday statement from U.S. 7th Fleet.

“The operations are taking place beyond the territorial seas of any coastal nations and are intended to reinforce regional security and stability, enhance interoperability with our allies, and increase operational proficiency and readiness,” read the statement. Read More

The Future Chinese Carrier Force

The Future Chinese Carrier Force

A naval honor guard at the in 2012 on board the Liaoning. Xinhua News Agency Photo

A naval honor guard at the in 2012 on board the Liaoning. Xinhua News Agency Photo

China’s acquisition of its first operational aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has generated headlines of late. Those reports have included questions about how many additional carriers Beijing intends acquiring.
Air power is crucial to naval power, and Chinese officers have long expressed interest in acquiring aircraft carriers. Many reports of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) carrier construction were published during the final quarter of the last century; President Jiang Zemin may have given the Navy permission to begin carrier design in the mid-1990s. Read More

Navy Plans to Launch Carrier UAV Next Tuesday

Navy Plans to Launch Carrier UAV Next Tuesday

Northrop Grumman's X-47B is loaded Monday onboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) for a planned May, 14 2013 catapult launch. US Navy Photo

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B is loaded Monday onboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) for a planned May, 14 2013 catapult launch. US Navy Photo

Next week the Navy will launch its experimental fixed winged unmanned aerial vehicle on its first flight from an aircraft carrier, Naval Air System Command officials told USNI News on Tuesday.

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) is planned to be launched from the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on May, 14, several sources told USNI News. Read More

Private Jets Fill Air Show Void Left by Pentagon Cuts

Private Jets Fill Air Show Void Left by Pentagon Cuts

Former US Marine Lt. Col. Art Nall with his restored Sea Harrier. Since military teams have canceled air shows dates due to budget cuts, Nall has seen increased demand for struggling air shows.

Former US Marine Lt. Col. Art Nalls with his restored Sea Harrier. Since military teams have canceled air shows dates due to budget cuts, Nalls has seen increased demand from air shows.

Art Nalls—air show performer and the owner/operator of what maybe the only working civilian Harrier jump jet in the country—may be one of the few people benefitting from recent military budget cuts.

Those spending reductions have bumped the Pentagon’s professional aeronautics teams—the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds—off the air show circuit for the rest of the year, creating a demand for Nalls’ stubby-winged Sea Harrier to visit air shows: $35,000 for a 15-to-20 minute show.

“We’re turning away business,” the retired Marine aviator based in Washington, D.C. told USNI News on Monday.
“We shoot for six air shows. We got ten.” Read More

Work and Roughead Talk Fleet Protection

Work and Roughead Talk Fleet Protection

Ships from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower from Carrier Strike Group. US Navy Photo

Ships from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower from Carrier Strike Group in 2012. US Navy Photo

Electromagnetic rail guns, lasers and anti-torpedo torpedoes may be the key technologies necessary to ensure the continued viability of the U.S. Navy’s carrier strike groups when operating against an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environment, top former service officials told USNI News.

In the past few years the Pentagon has placed an emphasis on countering the challenges of A2/AD—a concept broadly defined as denying an assaulting force access to a battle space. In the maritime context, the traditional A2/AD tools have been mines and submarines. With the development of increasingly advanced and inexpensive antiship missiles, the calculus of an assaulting force has placed an emphasis having enough weapon capacity to counter threats. Read More