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)