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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 gwem557 on 5/16/2013 6:26:16 PM , Rating: 4
Phew. I don't even know where to start with this, it's so short-sighted and, frankly, demonstrates a level of ignorance that's usually reserved for Apple Fanbois. Let me just address a few key points:

1. Carriers are the fastest ship in the navy. Their PUBLICLY stated speed is 30-some-odd knots, but in fact, they can easily hit 50. The truth is that they're limited ONLY by the stresses that the shafts and screws can take, since they have (theoretically) unlimited power available. Carriers have to REDUCE their speed to stay with their battle groups.

2. Too vulnerable. Oh, boy. This one has me rolling on the ground. You obviously have NO IDEA how much offensive and defensive fire power is arrayed around a carrier. Do you know WHY there are no longer battleships? It's simple: today's destroyers and frigates CARRY MORE DESTRUCTIVE ENERGY than those venerable behemoths ever did. And they do it smaller, faster, cheaper. Submarines. Air combat patrols. The 90 or so aircraft. Antimissle defenses. Aegis. Full battlesphere control for HUNDREDS of miles. I could go on and on but the point is simply this: No. They're not vulnerable AT ALL.

3. Too inflexible? What the hell? They carry 90 some-odd aircraft that fill every air combat role known to man, and they can mix and match as desired. What the hell are you talking about?

4. Too many support ships? Carriers don't have their OWN support ships. Support ships that service carriers also service other fleet units -- service that would be required even without the carrier present.

The sad thing is is that you do make SOME valid points: They are expensive and complex, and they take a lot of manpower. And hell, I'll even allow that your vision of what SHOULD be MIGHT have some merit within the next 2 centuries. But then you obliterate your good points by spouting the bad ones like their facts, which goes to your credibility.

RE: Carriers Are Obsolete!!!
By CubicleDilbert on 5/20/2013 5:14:32 PM , Rating: 2
But are you aware that in most NATO exercises the carriers are lost to German Uboats?

2001 USS Enterprise lost in the Carribean
1989 USS Forrestal lost (I think it as the North Sea)
same in the Mediterranean manouvers.

You can not protect a carrier in shallow water. That's why they pulled the carriers from the Persian Gulf.

And the Chinese Uboats are not bad either. They once penetrated a US Carrier group withouth problems.

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