Northrop Grumman’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System successfully landed on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Wednesday.

The landing followed a 35-minute flight from a naval air station in Maryland.

The arrested landing, conducted by a mission operator aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, was the first for the fighter-sized drone and opens the door for carrier deployment of unmanned combat vehicles.

“Today’s historic carrier landing and our operations aboard USS George H.W. Bush show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that tailless unmanned aircraft can integrate seamlessly and operate safely from an aircraft carrier at sea,” Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy UCAS program manager, said Wednesday.

“Beyond X-47B, this moment in history was made possible by an extremely disciplined and dedicated government-industry team that took a brand new unmanned combat air system from initial concept to highly successful demonstration in one of the most demanding operating environments in the world.”

Prior to snagging a deck wire with its tailhook and being brought to a stop within less than 350 feet, the X-47B was traveling at a speed of 145 knots.

“Although it looks like it could be an easy maneuver, today’s successful arrested landings points back to a rigorous test plan focused on software development and system maturity to prove today that an autonomous unmanned system such as the X-47B can safely, seamlessly and predictably integrate into Navy carrier operations,” said Carl Johnson, vice president and Navy UCAS program manager for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

The X-47B underwent its first catapult launch from an aircraft carrier in May.

45 COMMENTS

  1. Meanwhile china is still trying to figure out how they can make an jet engine that is powerfull enough to get even launch a plane from one of the rust buckets they call an aircraft carier XD

  2. Future of air combat. No need to put Americans in harms way. Cheaper, faster, longer range, more weapons. Eliminate the human and a lot of supporting systems can go away

  3. They shouldn't have men on deck when that abomination lands. Men should not be serving robots. The landing should be autonomous.

  4. Absolutely no glory in this thing whatsoever. We should fear it. Why should we fear it? ….because human pilots will not fire on their fellow Americans. Robots will.

  5. Drones: should be restricted. 
    We are dehumanizing death, killing.  We have turned killing into a video game.
    Giving no thought to the human suffering and deaths.
    The next world wore ,Drones. the star wars wore.

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