X-47B makes its first landing on an aircraft carrier, the aircraft just took a giant leap for unmannedkind

The X47-B has just something incredible, it has landed on an aircraft carrier, unmanned.

@anthony256
Published Sun, Jul 14 2013 9:27 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:22 PM CST

The Northrop Grumman-built X-47B is an unmanned drone, and it has completed its first successful landing on an aircraft carrier at sea. We reported on the X-47B being the first unmanned drone to take off from an aircraft carrier, but landing unmanned? Remarkable.

Considering aircraft carriers are constantly moving with the ocean waves, even an experienced pilot would have trouble landing on one. It's not an easy thing to do, but unmanned, run purely on technology, algorithms and equipment? That's quite an achievement. The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) is designed to fly mostly on its own, without much hands-on time from shipboard operators.

The precision landing was just that: precise. It is a huge step for multiple reasons, as this has been a procedure set in motion after quite a few years, and nearly a billion US dollars. On Wednesday, the X-47B made a 35-minute flight from the Navail Air Station at Patuxent River, Md., to the aircraft carrier, where it hooked onto the 3 wire with its tailhook and came to a perfect stop from a speed of approximately 145 knots in less than 350 feet.

X-47B makes its first landing on an aircraft carrier, the aircraft just took a giant leap for unmannedkind | TweakTown.com

After its first successful landing, it took off again and made a second arrested landing proving it wasn't just a once off. There was a third takeoff, but the X-47B "self-detected a navigation computer anomaly" and took off to a designated alternative landing side, on land, at Wallops Island Airfield in Virginia, where it again landed, with precision.

You can read more on the story here, or check out the Wikipedia page on the X-47B, here.

NEWS SOURCE:news.cnet.com

Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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