Magazine article National Defense

Northrop Grumman's Naval Combat Drones Get Lifeline

Magazine article National Defense

Northrop Grumman's Naval Combat Drones Get Lifeline

Article excerpt

* The Navy has decided to hold off sending its X-47B combat drones to an aviation museum. For now, the Northrop Grumman aircraft will be kept in flying condition pending high-level decisions on how to move forward.

"The Navy is examining a range of potential follow-on activities involving the X-47B air vehicles," Navy Capt. Beau Duarte, program manager for unmanned carrier aviation, told National Defense in a statement.

Duarte in April broke the news that the Navy would donate to a museum or mothball the carrier drones - dubbed Salty Dog 501 and Salty Dog 502 - even after a series of successful at-sea tests. The thinking at the time was that there was no further use for the aircraft although the Navy would continue to study the test data with an eye toward a future drone program.

Lawmakers swiftly reacted to that decision and demanded that the Navy change course. …

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