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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Forbes Calls on SECNAV Mabus to Extend X-47B Testing

X-47B UCLASSRep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) wants to keep the Navy’s two X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrators (UCAS-D) flying instead of sending the two unmanned vehicles to a museum or long term storage, according to a Thursday letter to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus obtained by USNI News.

Last week, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) successfully demonstrated autonomous aerial refueling (AAR) with an unmanned Northrop Grumman X-47B — call sign, Salty Dog 502 — marking the end of the official test program with no planned extension on the horizon.

NAVAIR officials have said the X-47B would be too different from its plans for the follow-on airframe for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program and making changes to Salty Dogs 501 and 502 would be too expensive.

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