The U.S. Navy’s first sea-based, unmanned attack aircraft has passed its first arrested landing test, ahead of sea trials expected later this month.
A joint development of the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman, the X-47 B is the only aircraft designed to remain pilotless from takeoff to landing.
Instead, computer operators on the ground transmit instructions to the plane, which can theoretically fly to altitudes of 15,000 feet where it conducts surveillance and carries out strike missions.
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Testing of the aircraft began in February 2011 and the U.S. Navy’s goal is to have it fully operational and on aircraft carriers within the decade.