Collier Trophy awarded for carrier-based unmanned system

April 15, 2014

The X-47B developed by Northrop-Grumman (and powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower Geared Turbofan engine) made history in July with the first aircraft carrier operations by an unmanned vehicle. U.S. Navy photo.

The National Aeronautic Association has awarded the Collier Trophy for 2013 to Northrop Grumman, the Navy, and the X-47B industry team for "the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier."

The award was announced April 9 at the NAA’s spring awards dinner. NAA President Jonathan Gaffney said the award, for development and demonstration of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System, continued a 103-year tradition of marking "the relentless advance of the aviation and aerospace industry."

The Collier Trophy will be presented at the annual Robert J. Collier Trophy Dinner on May 29 in Arlington, Va.

Among the nominees for the 2013 Collier Trophy were the human-powered helicopter teams Atlas and Gamera; NASA’S Deep Space Network; NASA’S Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration project team, and several other military and space projects.

The Collier Trophy for 2012 was awarded to the NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Project Team "in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of successfully landing Curiosity on Mars, advancing the nation's technological and engineering capabilities."

The nonprofit National Aeronautic Association is a membership organization devoted to fostering America's aerospace leadership and promoting public understanding of the importance of aviation and space flight to the nation.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor.