The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has selected the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) team to receive the 2013 Robert J. Collier Trophy, one of aviation’s highest honors.
The NAA voting committee awarded the trophy to the U.S. Navy, Northrop Grumman and its industry partners for “developing and demonstrating the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”
On May 14, 2013, the X-47B became the first unmanned, tail-less aircraft to catapult launch from an aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). Three days later, the aircraft made the first carrier-based touch-and-go landings. On July 10, 2013, the X-47B made history again on CVN 77 by being the first unmanned, tail-less aircraft to make an arrested landing aboard a carrier.
Conferred annually, the Collier Trophy recognizes one team or individual who has made “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America” during the previous year. Past recipients of the trophy include: Howard Hughes (1938), Neil Armstrong (1969), the B-2 (1991), Global Hawk (2000) and SpaceShipOne (2004).
The 2013 Collier Trophy will be formally presented May 29 at the annual Robert J. Collier Trophy Dinner in Arlington.
“It is a tremendous honor to be selected as this year’s winner,” said Carl Johnson, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s UCAS-D organization. “The X-47B program is the product of extraordinary vision and relentless execution. The Navy and our entire industry team have been formidable partners in developing an aircraft that many thought impossible.”
Key suppliers to the X-47B program are Dell, Eaton, GE Aviation, GKN Aerospace, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, MOOG, Pratt & Whitney, Rockwell Collins, UTC Aerospace Systems and Wind River.