Air to air refuelling for X47B

X 47B
Air to air refuelling for UAS has been spoken about for years, a single system to service Predator, Darkstar and the Global Hawk was once sought. Now the X47 joins the party.  Saber Tanker Aerial Group (STAG) are trying it in the civil area. Last year Cobham were chosen to support Global Hawk autonomous air to air refuelling trials. Bristol university is also part of the rush. Reliable tanking is all the rage.
Take off and landing are the most difficult part of any flight op, manned or unmanned.
So why land!
Added: Nov 02, 2011 10:13 am

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) intends to issue contract modifications to contract N00019-07-C-0055 on a sole source basis with Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, San Diego, CA to test previously developed software on the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) in order to continue the efforts to demonstrate hybrid probe/drogue United States Navy (USN) and boom/receptacle United States Air Force (USAF) style autonomous aerial refueling (AAR) as part of the UCAS Demonstration Program by CY 2014. Current UCAS-D efforts include demonstrating critical technologies for an unmanned, carrier suitable, tailless, low observable (LO) platform in a carrier relevant environment. The product from this developmental test effort is the technical data to assess system performance, determine viability of the AAR concept, and support the further development of future unmanned systems. Upgrades to existing UCAS-D X-47B software will be developed and tested for the AAR capability within the existing architecture and interface with proprietary vehicle management control software.
The UCAS-D X-47B air vehicle is the only relevant carrier-suitable unmanned air system in existence capable of demonstrating AAR in the near-term. Moreover, the X-47B hardware was recently re-designed and modified to accommodate both USN-style and USAF-style refueling. The physical hardware and electronic interfaces required to perform AAR are now ready for testing. These electronic interfaces, however, are proprietary to NGSC, as the sole designer, developer and manufacturer of the X-47B. As such, NGSC is the only responsible source with the requisite knowledge, technical expertise and experience capable of satisfying the Government’s data needs by CY 2014 within the allocated budget.