Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Mary A. Strokus, daughter of Callie and Phillip Strokus of Roanoke, Va., assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), was a part of the hoisting of an X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator on board the flight deck recently, in preparation for an unmanned aircraft’s first, carrier-based testing.
A team from the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System program office (PMA-268) embarked Truman to conduct tests and demonstrations.
The X-47B, which boasts a wingspan of more than 62 feet (wider than that of an F/A-18 Super Hornet), will demonstrate seamless integration into carrier flight deck operations through various tests. During each demonstration, the X-47B will be controlled remotely via a hand-held control display unit (CDU).
Truman was the first modern aircraft carrier to host test operations for an unmanned aircraft. Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy UCAS’s program manager, said the X-47B’s delivery aboard Truman was among the most historic moments in the program’s history.
While technical challenges were to be expected when introducing the new system to a carrier’s flight deck, Engdahl said she expected the tests to be successful citing strong teamwork between her team and Truman’s crew.
The X-47B test was conducted over a three week period which included in-port and underway demonstrations aboard Truman.
Strokus is a 2010 graduate of Hidden Valley High School of Roanoke, Va. and joined the Navy in December 2011.