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Unmanned X-47B Launches from a Carrier

For the first time in history, a combat aircraft with no pilot onboard took off from an aircraft carrier at sea

Photo: US Navy/Northrop Grumman

This morning, for the first time in history, a combat aircraft (correction: a research aircraft that will lead to a combat aircraft) with no pilot onboard took off from an aircraft carrier at sea.

The X-47B demonstrator launched from the USS George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginia at 11:18 a.m., and flew to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

“Today we saw a small, but significant pixel in the future picture of our Navy,” said Vice Adm. David Buss, commander of the Naval Air Forces, in a released statement.

Next up on the list of milestones — flying approaches and landings on a pitching flight deck.



 

Update: On May 17 the X-47B did its first touch-and-go landing on a carrier.

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