Science & Technology

Experimental Drone Lands on Naval Carrier

A first


In another milestone in robotic warfare, the Navy on Wednesday landed a fighter-size, computer-guided drone on an aircraft carrier.

The experimental X-47B jet took off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland and made its historic touchdown aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, off the coast of Virginia. As with conventional carrier landings — one of the most difficult tasks for a pilot — the drone deployed a tailhook that snagged an arresting wire, bringing the bat-wing plane to a quick stop on the flight deck about 1:40 p.m.