Successful carrier landing marks the beginning of the final phases of at sea testing

The United States military is pushing hard to push more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into combat zones. These drones are important because the military doesn't have to worry about the loss of human life in a combat situation and drones are able to operate for long periods of time without worrying about pilot fatigue.

In May of 2013, the Navy reached a milestone with its latest drone when the aircraft made its first carrier-based launch. This week the X-47B has reached another milestone by successfully making its first arrested landing at sea aboard a carrier. The carrier landing took place aboard the USS George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginia on July 10.
The demonstration marked the first time a tailless, unmanned autonomous aircraft landed on the surface of a modern aircraft carrier.

"It isn't very often you get a glimpse of the future. Today, those of us aboard USS George H.W. Bush got that chance as we witnessed the X-47B make its first ever arrested landing aboard an aircraft carrier," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "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 carrier landing marked the beginning of the final phase of three at-sea test periods for the X-47B. The testing on July 10 saw the drone aircraft complete a 35-minute transit from Pax River to the carrier.

After the initial successful landing, the drone was launched off the carrier using the catapult and executed an additional arrested landing. The aircraft attempted a third arrested landing but self detected an anomaly in its navigation computer that required the aircraft to divert to an inland airfield.

Source: Navy

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