Panorama May 17, 2013
An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator flies over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is the first aircraft carrier to successfully catapult launch an unmanned aircraft from its flight deck. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Timothy Walter)
Naval air Forces Commander Calls X-47B Catapult Launch from Carrier a Pivotal Moment in Naval aviation From Naval Air Systems Command Public Affairs
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCASD) completed its first ever carrierbased catapult launch from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia today. "Today we saw a small, but significant pixel in the future picture of our Navy as we begin integration of unmanned systems into arguably the most complex warfighting environment that exists today: the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier," said Vice Adm. David Buss, commander of Naval Air Forces, the Navy's "Air Boss". The unmanned aircraft launched from the deck of George H.W. Bush at 11:18 a.m. It executed several planned low approaches to the carrier and safely transited across the Chesapeake Bay to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., after a 65-minute flight. Buss called the launch a "watershed event" in naval aviation and said he expects that decades from now, a future "Air Boss" will have a picture of the X-47B launching
from Bush behind his or her desk just as he has a picture of aviation pioneer Eugene Ely's first-ever landing on the deck of a ship in 1911 behind his desk today. "This ship and her crew continuously meet the challenges placed before them," said the ship's commanding officer, Capt. Brian E. Luther. "The successful launch of the X-47B is yet another first on USS George H.W. Bush. We were excited to host the experimental aircraft, and are proud to know we have played a part in a significant milestone in naval aviation." Completing another important first for the UCAS-D program, the team demonstrated the ability to precisely navigate the X-47B within the controlled airspace around an aircraft carrier at sea and seamlessly pass control of the air vehicle from a "mission operator" aboard the carrier to one located in the Mission Test Control Center at NAS Patuxent River for landing. "The flight today demonstrated that the X-47B is capable of operation from a carrier, hand-off from one mission control station to another, flight through the national airspace, and recovery at another location without degradation in
safety or precision," said Matt Funk, lead test engineer for the Navy UCAS program. Prior to the catapult launch on Tuesday, the UCAS test team also conducted deck-handling and ship-integration testing to demonstrate the capability to safely operate the X-47B in the dynamic, unforgiving environment of an aircraft carrier flight deck. "This event is a testament to the teamwork, professionalism and expertise of everyone involved with X-47B program," said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. "Their work will positively impact future unmanned aviation development for years to come." Over the next few weeks, the X47B aircraft will fly approaches to the ship multiple times and eventually land on the pitching flight deck, said Navy UCAS Program Manager Capt. Jaime Engdahl. The UCAS team will conduct additional shore-based testing with the X-47B at NAS Patuxent River in the coming months before its final carrier-based arrested landing demonstration later this summer.
Installation Libraries Kick Off Summer Reading Program By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., American Forces Press Service Libraries across the Department of Defense (DoD) will begin offering the fourth annual Summer Reading Program to students on their installations to promote reading fun, a Navy General Library official said. Nilya Carrato, program assistant for the Navy General Library Program, highlighted DoD's Summer Reading Program during an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel. "The Summer Reading Program operates on DoD installations worldwide, and it runs, generally, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, although we know school gets out at different times all around the world," Carrato said. "And it's a way for students to have fun reading so they don't go back to school behind the curve." Carrato used sports as an example of practicing a skill to stay prepared. "If you play a lot sports, you need to know how to run," she said. "If you want to learn in school, you've got to already have your reading skills. And if you don't practice, you lose them." Reading is much less of a chore for a child who enjoys it, she added. "If you don't practice over the summer, you can go back a few weeks behind your classmates in terms of your reading skills," Carrato said. "And that might not be so bad this year, but by the time they're in sixth grade, they can be a whole year behind their class-
mates as far as their reading skills, because it does add up over time." This year's Summer Reading program theme is a travel theme: "Have Book, Will Travel." The program will apply throughout the Defense Department, and it will be available at installation libraries and at some child and youth programs during the summer, Carrato said. "It goes all ages," she added. "Some bases will even do it for adults." In addition to the travel theme, the program includes incentives for students to participate, Carrato said, such as bookmarks and other prizes. She said participants can earn a military challenge coin for reading this year. In last year's program, Carrato said, Defense Department children put in almost 30 years of reading time. "We get the reports back from all of the installations around the world about how many minutes their kids read, and how many pages their kids read, and I add it all up," Carrato said. "It's millions of minutes." Last year's program notched a 30-percent increase over the year before, "which was like a 300-percent increase over the year before that," Carrato said. Children in the Naples area can sign up for the program when it starts June 24. Children who participate will be able to earn a prize for every book log completed and take part in fun activities. In September, MWR will award our most exceptional summer readers.
Panorama is a weekly newspaper that serves the NATO, Naples and Gaeta military community in Naples, Italy.