Smiths lands $150 million X-47B contract

Britain’s Smiths Aerospace has been awarded over $150 million by Northrop Grumman to supply the landing gear system for the X-47B Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems aircraft.

Britain’s Smiths Aerospace has been awarded a contract worth over $150 million by Northrop Grumman to supply the landing gear system for the X-47B Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) aircraft.

The first system delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2006 from Smiths’ Santa Ana, California facility.

Smiths said in a statement that the X-47B J-UCAS landing gear system is designed to ‘endure the challenges and rigours of catapult take-offs and arrested landings on US Navy aircraft carriers.’

Smiths will be responsible for the design, development, certification and manufacturing of a fully integrated system. The landing gear system will incorporate hydraulically actuated steering controls, anti-skid braking systems and corrosion resistant materials.

The J-UCAS program was established in 2003 to demonstrate the technical feasibility, military utility and operational value of developing a network of high performance and armed unmanned aerial vehicles.

Northrop Grumman says these air vehicles will conduct a variety of 21st century combat missions for the US Air Force and Navy including precision targeting and strike; persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defences; and electronic attack.