Jet Lands Aboard U.S. Navy Carrier in Historic First

Created: 2013-07-11 15:16 EST

Category: World > North America

A U.S. jet carried out a maneuver on Wednesday long considered the most challenging in naval aviation—landing aboard an aircraft carrier.

It was a milestone that lifted expectations about basing drones with reconnaissance and strike capabilities on ships.

The Northrop Grumman X-47B aircraft slipped out of a cloudy sky off the Virginia Coast and dropped its tailhook to snag an arresting cable on the deck of the USS George Bush sailing in the Atlantic.

With a stealthy frame, a two-thousand-mile range and the ability to carry two precision-guided bombs, the jet raised the prospects of a radar-evading, unmanned reconnaissance and strike aircraft.

A carrier-based drone with those capabilities could be used to counter countries like China and Iran.

The countries have been developing missiles and other weapons aimed at forcing the U.S. Navy to operate far from shore in a conflict.

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