Photo credit: Like Cool
Northrop Grumman’s X-47B is a tailless jet-powered blended-wing-body aircraft capable of semi-autonomous operation and aerial refuelling, built for the U.S. Navy. As of 2015, the X-47B’s two active demonstrators have undergone extensive flight and operational integration testing, having successfully performed a series of land- and carrier-based demonstrations. Northrop Grumman intends to develop the prototype X-47B into a battlefield-ready aircraft, the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system, which will enter service in the 2020s. Continue reading for two more videos and some cool facts. Click here to view more pictures of the X-47B.
The X-47B demonstrators themselves were intended to become museum exhibits after the completion of their flight testing, but the Navy later decided to maintain them in flying condition pending further development. The project was initially funded under a US$635.8-million contract awarded by the Navy in 2007. By January 2012, the X-47B’s total program cost had grown to an estimated $813 million.