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Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Drone Passes Milestone

Northrop’s unmanned aircraft center of excellence is in Rancho Bernardo.

By SDBJ Staff
|  Tuesday, May 7, 2013  |  Updated 8:47 AM PDT
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Milestone for Northrop Grumman

Getty Images

Northrop Grumman Corp. offices are seen in Century City, CA. The defense contract giant also has offices in San Diego County.

Northrop Grumman’s experimental, unmanned drone designed to fly off of aircraft carriers has passed another development milestone.

Special Section: Local Business Spotlight

The boomerang-shaped X-47B recently made its first arrested landing, the type of landing that makes aircraft carrier operation feasible. The arrested landing involves snagging an aircraft’s tailhook on a cable stretched across the runway, which slows the aircraft dramatically.

The first arrested landing took place on shore, at the U.S. Navy base at Patuxent River, Md. It culminated three months of tests, which included touch-and-go landings.

The Navy will conduct flight tests on an actual aircraft carrier in the future.

Northrop’s unmanned aircraft center of excellence — and its engineering brainpower — is in Rancho Bernardo.

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