Drone Carrier Landing

Satcom-equipped drone landed on the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush

The U.S. Navy’s X-47B drone on Wednesday completed its first-ever landing aboard an aircraft carrier in what officials heralded as the future of naval aviation.

The bat winged-shaped jet built by Northrop Grumman Corp. made a smooth approach, touched down on the flight deck and came to a sudden halt after catching an arresting cable aboard the USS George H.W. Bush at about 1:40 p.m. The ship — the Navy’s newest nuclear-powered carrier — was sailing about 70 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va., in the Atlantic Ocean.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus drew comparisons of the event to pilot Eugene Ely’s first-ever landing of a biplane on a ship in 1911.

“It is not often that you get a chance to see the future, but that’s what we got to do today,” he said during a news conference with reporters afterward. “This is an amazing day for aviation in general and for naval aviation in particular.”

The service’s top officer, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, called it a “miraculous technological feat.”


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