Navy completes 1st unmanned carrier landing (Update)

July 10, 2013 by Brock Vergakis
A Navy X-47B drone is launched off the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush off the coast of Virginia, in this May 14, 2013 file photo. The Navy says the X-47B experimental aircraft will try to land aboard the USS George H.W. Bush on Wednesday July 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

The U.S. Navy says it has landed a drone the size of a fighter jet on an aircraft carrier for the first time.

The X-47B experimental aircraft made the landing Wednesday afternoon, a milestone that showcases the military's capability to have a computer program perform one of the most difficult tasks a pilot is asked to do.

The Navy can now move forward with plans to develop another unmanned aircraft that can provide around-the-clock surveillance while also possessing strike capability.

Critics in the U.S. and abroad have charged that drone strikes cause widespread civilian deaths and are conducted with inadequate oversight. Still, defense analysts say drones are the future of warfare.

Explore further: ONR-guided tech tracks what's inside ships

Related Stories

ONR-guided tech tracks what's inside ships

April 1, 2010

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is funding emerging technology that will allow wireless surveillance not only of ships and aircraft, but also the tracking of people and high value assets inside the ships.

US tries new aerial tools in Caribbean drug fight

April 27, 2013

Drug smugglers who race across the Caribbean in speedboats will typically jettison their cargo when spotted by surveillance aircraft, hoping any chance of prosecuting them will vanish with the drugs sinking to the bottom ...

US Navy launches unmanned aircraft from carrier

May 14, 2013

The U.S. Navy for the first time Tuesday launched an unmanned aircraft the size of a fighter jet from a warship in the Atlantic Ocean, as it wades deeper into America's drone program amid growing concerns over the legality ...

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.