In Historic First, Navy Lands Unmanned Drone on Aircraft Carrier (+video)

Photo Credit: APFor the first time ever, a fighter jet-sized drone piloted entirely by computer landed on a modern aircraft carrier.

The successful touch down paves the way for unmanned aircraft to operate alongside traditional airplanes, providing around-the-clock surveillance while also possessing strike capability. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was clearly aware of the import of the historic moment.

“It isn’t very often you get a glimpse of the future,” Mabus said in a statement. “The operational unmanned aircraft soon to be developed have the opportunity to radically change the way presence and combat power are delivered from our aircraft carriers.”

The X-47B experimental aircraft took off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland before approaching the USS George H.W. Bush, which is operating off the coast of Virginia. The drone landed by deploying a tailhook that caught a wire aboard the ship, bringing it to a quick stop, just like normal fighter jets do.

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