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Northrop Grumman Unveils Promo Video of Spiffy X-47B Stealth Drone

Written by on Friday, August 17th, 2012

One of the downsides of following military news is that civilians aren’t always in the know. Many military products come from major corporations, like Boeing or Glock, but these companies just don’t handle marketing with the government the same way they handle it with the rest of the world. We’re used to million-dollar advertising campaigns that shove the product down our throats. Military contractors only need to convince a small group of government decision-makers, so they generally don’t waste money trying to win over the public, too.

Ever once in a while, though, military contractors are nice enough to release a promotional video that shows off their latest and greatest product to drum up some support. That’s good news for civilians, because we typically have to wait for the government to open and share all of those juicy tidbits. And let’s face it: the US military isn’t known as the most loquacious organization on the planet.

Northrop Grumman has unveiled this promo vid of its nifty X-47B stealth drone. After seeing what this drone is capable of, I can see why the Navy is chomping at the bit to get its hands on it — this thing is like a flying Swiss army knife. If the video is accurate, you’d be hard-pressed to think of anything that this UAV can’t do.

To start off with, the X-47B can pull off pretty much everything that you’d expect buy cheap diazepam from a naval aircraft. That includes short take-off and landing capabilities, as well as foldable wings for efficient storage. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

The stealth drone has swept wing pattern reminiscent of the legendary B-2 bomber (also manufactured by Northrop Grumman), an internal weapons bay that can allow it to heft munitions without compromising stealth, and more than enough range to strike deep into enemy territory. With its 62-foot-wing span, a flight range of 2,400 miles, and a projected cruise speed of Mach .45 (approximately 345 mph), the X-47B promises to be a versatile addition to the US Navy’s arsenal.

Allow me to channel the spirit of infomercials for a moment: And that’s not all! The X-47B can perform aerial refueling missions, both in order to deliver the fuel to other aircraft and to receive midair refueling. It’s almost like it’s three or four different military aircraft all rolled into one.

The X-47B embodies the newest mentality that the US government has towards its aircraft. Recently, they’ve been putting more emphasis on jack-of-all-trades aircraft that are perform a variety of functions fairly well, even if they might be out-performed by super-specialized aircraft. These drones probably won’t be able to bomb as well as a B-2 bomber, or perform reconnaissance as effectively as a dedicated high-altitude surveillance drone, but its versatility ensures that it will be useful for something in just about every situation.

If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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