The U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS), which is powered by Pratt & Whitney's F100-PW-220U engine, has been named the winner of the 2013 Robert J. Collier Trophy by the National Aeronautic Association. The Collier Trophy is awarded annually to recognize the greatest achievements in aeronautics or astronautics in America, and honors achievements that improve the performance, efficiency and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.
"We congratulate the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman for receiving this prestigious award," said Dan Grady, program manager, Unmanned Aviation Systems, Pratt & Whitney. "The X-47B team sets a precedent for all future technologies for unmanned carrier-based systems. We are proud to have been involved in this program since day one."
This past summer, Pratt & Whitney's F100 engine and unique exhaust system powered the X-47B to its first-ever carrier-based catapult launch, touch and go, and arrested landings. This marked the first unmanned system to be successfully tested on an aircraft carrier at-sea securing a page in aviation history. The success of the X-47B has demonstrated the feasibility to operate unmanned aircraft in the harsh and unpredictable carrier environment. Further research is being conducted on the integration of unmanned carrier-based aircraft within the carrier environment to benefit the follow-on Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program.
The Collier Trophy will be presented to the combined U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman X-47B team at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on May 29.
For more information about the propulsion system for the X-47B, check out the Fall 2013 issue of Pratt & Whitney Military Engines Product Support Quarterly, or this June 2013 interview from Avionics Intelligence with Jimmy Reed, former director of Pratt & Whitney's advanced engines programs.