“Developing the X-47B system required us to innovate not just technologically, but also on cost”
The X-47B is a tailless, strike fighter-sized unmanned aircraft developed as part of the U.S. Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) Carrier Demonstration program. Under a contract awarded in 2007, Northrop Grumman designed, produced and is currently flight testing two X-47B aircraft. In 2013, these aircraft were used to successfully demonstrate the first ever carrier-based launches and recoveries by an autonomous, low-observable, relevant unmanned aircraft.
To support autonomous flight, Northrop Grumman utilized Dell’s commercial-off-the-shelf technology to develop X-47B’s high-performance ground control system. As a result of partnering with Dell, Northrop Grumman was effectively able to:
- Lower cost and improve on timelines by using a commercial off the shelf (COTS) solution for what was previously a custom solution in Ground Based Systems.
- Maintain and sustain their technology over the life of the program.
- Leverage COTS solutions across other UAS platforms.
“Developing the X-47B system required us to innovate not just technologically, but also on cost,” said Pablo Gonzalez, Northrop Grumman’s X-47B program manager. “Dell presented us with a suite of COTS solutions that gave us both performance and the flexibility needed for our IT infrastructure, while keeping costs low.”