Drone Makes First-Ever Landing on Aircraft Carrier

Published:7:30 pm EDT, July 10, 2013| Updated:7:30 pm EDT, July 10, 2013|
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X-47B, drone, unmanned aircraft, navy, US Navy

In this image provided by the U.S. Navy, an X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator performs a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

For the first time ever, an unmanned aircraft has successfully completed a "carrier-based arrested landing."

The Northrop Grumman X-47B, a drone designed for carrier-based landings, was developed by DARPA and is now a part of the United States Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The operation also included a first-ever catapult launch and nine touch-and-gos. The event took place on board USS George H.W. Bush July 10.

The Navy believes this development will change the way they integrate unmanned aircraft into their arsenal in the future. The the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system will entering service by 2019.

"By evolving and integrating new technology like the X-47B and the unmanned aircraft to follow, carriers will remain relevant throughout their 50-year lifespan," said Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy.

Watch footage of the event below:

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Drone landing video, courtesy of the U.S. Navy YouTube Channel.

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