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While X-47B is for non-operational use, its precision navigation algorithms will be used to create the first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft

The United States Navy launched an unmanned aircraft from a modern carrier flight deck for the first time ever Tuesday. 

The unmanned aircraft was the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator, and its first-ever launch from a modern aircraft carrier represents how manned and unmanned aircraft on carrier flight decks will be merged in the future.

A mission operator aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) controlled X-47B, showing off how well it works within a carrier environment. It landed back at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. 

"This historic event challenges the paradigm of manned carrier landings that were first conducted more than 90 years ago," said Rear Adm. Mat Winter. "In that challenge though, comes a respect and admiration for all those naval aviators – past and present – that have ensured the value of the Navy aircraft carrier/carrier air wing team.

"The addition of unmanned aviation to this formidable, power projection team provides a complementary capability, which will ensure carrier naval aviation remains viable and relevant for decades to come. It also shows our collective readiness within naval aviation to embrace these future opportunities to move forward with unmanned carrier aviation. 

"This is a big deal!"

While X-47B is for non-operational use, its precision navigation algorithms will be used to create the first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft.

That future aircraft is expected to feature "24/7 carrier-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and targeting capability" which will operate with manned aviation assets.

Source: Navy Live

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RE: Carriers Are Obsolete!!!
By hartleyb on 5/16/2013 4:26:36 PM , Rating: 3
Why do you always get people on these blogs that have no idea what they are talking about. First there is currenlty no replacment for the capability of a carrier. Carriers are much more then a landing fields for aircraft. They help resupply other assets, provide theater comand and control, and they are a huge communications platforms for near realtime intel, which long range aircraft can't replace. Additionally to add they are not sitting ducks i.e. the battle group has up to a 250-500 Nautical Mile envelope of protection around the carrier, both underwater to the upper atmosphere, in addition to the ship board defenses which are multi-layered starting as much as 30 Nautical Miles from the target. Refueling in the air while is has it's purposes is one of the most dangerous things a pilot does especially when you add in lack of sleep on long distance missions. If you ever sit in the combat center for a carrier you get an appreciation for the amount of firepower that can be used. The carrier can fire the missle of all it's battle group assets i.e. ships and aircraft, and pull in their radar and sonar pictures. It will be twenty to thirty years before there is technology that can rival a carrier, and that technology will most likly be space based, not long range missles or aircraft. Pull up Janes, go to the library, or even better yet take a tour, but carriers are here to stay becuase the are the most powerful weapon in our arsenal next to a nuke.

RE: Carriers Are Obsolete!!!
By CubicleDilbert on 5/20/2013 4:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, dream on...
Carriers are only worth their huge costs while enemies have no means to defeat them. Your assumption of a 250 miles radius of protection is... just an assumption.

Russian Uboats have trailed and successfully shadowed US carriers many times. Even in Nato exercises the German Uboats successfully infiltrated the protection zone.

Anyway, a US general was fired because the protection shield did not work when a German Uboat suddenly a emerged just side by side to USS Enterprise.
Rumor has it that the Germans immediately opened the hatch and blasted Bavarian "Ooomphtata" music to the US soldiers. The accompanying US commander on board the German vessel was deeply shocked by the way. :-D

And the newest German Uboats launched this month are even 10x better than the old ones.

Same with missiles. Why did the US suddenly turn their carriers around and out of the Persian Gulf at the moment the Iranian had modern anti-ship missiles?
Sure, the carriers needed to be refuelled at home. ;-)

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