10 July 2013
The U.S. Navy’s X-47B drone made history Wednesday as the first unmanned aircraft to land on the moving flight deck of an aircraft carrier at sea, according to the U.S. Navy
. The drone, named "Salty Dog 502," took off from the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, on a flight to the USS George H. W. Bush, in the Atlantic off the coast of Virginia. The drone landed by deploying a tailhook that caught a wire across the ship’s flight deck, just like a traditional fighter jet. Unlike other military drones, the X-47B isn't remotely piloted and relies upon an automated computer system to complete its maneuvers. On 14 May of this year, the X-47B executed the first ever "catapult takeoff"
and landed successfully at Patuxent an hour later. (Image: An X-47B unmanned drone takes off from the George H.W. Bush in May on its first catapult launch. Credit: USN)More Info >
(The Los Angeles Times