The US Navy X-47B UCAS-D (Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration) successfully completed its first flight at Edwards AFB on February 4, 2011.
The flight which was conducted by a US Navy/Northrop Grumman test team, lasted 29 minutes. The flight test was aimed to provide test data to check the system software for guidance and navigation, and the aerodynamic control of the tailless drone. The X-47B is deemed to safely take off from, and land on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
Other flight tests should be performed to validate the airworthiness of the drone in Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Pax River), Maryland till 2013. Here is the maiden flight video:
According to Le Monde, and Reuters the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff would much rather have American F/A-18 Super Hornets than buy French Dassault Rafales to upgrade the FAB – Força Aérea Brasileira, the Brazilian Air Force.
Mrs Rousseff would have stated that the American fighter aircraft would be superior to the Rafale when she met with Timothy Geithner current United States Secretary of the Treasury.
One may wonder why as the Rafale is almost superior to the Super Hornet in almost every skill as far as performance is concerned.
Last but not least, the radius of combat of the French fighter is far longer than its rivals. The Brazilian president is to make a decision presently.
However, and particularly because of the range difference, it would not be wise to reject the Rafale in a country as vast as Brazil. Anyway, everybody knows that wisdom has nothing to do with such decision 😉
Photo courtesy: © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/