Northrop Grumman X-47B Achieves Historic Catapult Launch and Landing with Wind River Technology

Posted: August 19, 2013

·        X-47B catapult launch and landing first of their kind from an aircraft carrier in aviation history.
·        Wind River VxWorks serves as key technology for the X-47B.
·        Company’s reliable and secure software has served as a key technology for countless unmanned systems around the globe.

ALAMEDA, Calif. – July 10, 2013 – Wind River®, a world leader in embedded and mobile software, announced that Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) relied on Wind River technology for the successful catapult launch and landing of the X-47B unmanned aircraft from the deck of the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH carrier, the first of their kind in aviation history. The Wind River VxWorks® real-time operating system (RTOS) is a key technology for the X-47B in the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program.

Developed by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy, the X-47B is the first tailless, autonomous unmanned aircraft to be developed for carrier operations. VxWorks was chosen by Northrop Grumman as the software platform for the UCAS-D program.

“Wind River provides the trusted systems necessary to rapidly create, deploy, and maintain critical applications, as well as satisfy complex mission-critical requirements for next-generation intelligent systems like the X-47B,” said Chip Downing, senior director of aerospace and defense at Wind River. “Wind River is honored to be part of the UCAS-D industry team responsible for this groundbreaking military program, which is paving the way for the future of carrier-based autonomous systems technology.”

Carl Johnson, vice president and Navy UCAS program manager for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector, commented, “The catapult launch and landing of the X-47B are historic milestones for the Navy, Northrop Grumman, and Wind River, whose technology has been critical to the success of this program. We look forward to continued collaboration and future achievements with the UCAS-D industry team.”

For more than three decades, Wind River has been a trusted advisor in the development of aerospace and defense products. The company’s reliable and secure software has served as a key technology for countless autonomous systems around the globe, including the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, CIRA’s FTB-1 reusable unmanned spacecraft, and the nEUROn Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle demonstrator, among others.

For more information on Wind River’s work with Northrop Grumman, visit To learn more about Wind River aerospace and defense solutions, visit