A large crowd watched in anticipation as the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator passed its latest test on 10 July by completing an arrested landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77). The landing marked the first time an unmanned aircraft completed an arrested landing at sea.
U.S. Navy courtesy of Northrop Grumman (Alan Radecki)
World Naval Developments - The Perils of Russian Shipbuilding
Early in July the Indian Navy announced that it was finally running acceptance trials for its Russian-built carrier, the Vikramaditya. The ship, which began life as the Soviet carrier Admiral Gorshkov, was rebuilt by the north Russian yard Sevmash for the Indians. The deal must have seemed good at the time. The Russians were desperate. In return for an order for carrier-capable aircraft, they offered the carrier gratis. The Indians were to pay only for the cost of modernization. As a Soviet vessel, the Gorshkov operated Yak-38 short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) fighter-bombers plus various other weapons, most notably a battery of long-range antiship missiles. Reconstruction, including removal of the missiles, will allow the ship to operate higher-performance MiG-29K aircraft, which will take off using a ski-jump forward and land, using arresting gear, on an angled deck. All of that had to be built in.
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