Aside 14 Dec

Drone aircraft being used by the military is nothing new. They have mostly been used for reconnaissance with everything from the mini remote-controlled hummingbird to much larger crafts, such as, the one that spied on Osama Bin Lauden’s compound. There have also been drones capable of carrying small weapons to take out a single target. Northrop Grumman has taken those drones to a new level with their full combat air vehicle that made its first successful taxiing run on the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Truman.

“With the CDU, we followed the aircraft detector’s signals to move the aircraft left or right, over the arresting wire, to and from the catapults and to various spotting positions,” Gerrit Everson, one of the operators, said.

The X-47B first took to the air in February of last year at Edward Air Force Base in California. The drone, that came be pre-programmed or remote-controlled, made a 29 minute flight showing off the capabilities of the bat winged drone.

“Nobody has never done this before,” Lt. Cmdr. Larry Tarver, Truman’s aircraft handling officer said. “Unmanned aerial vehicles have flown all over the world, but an X-47B has never operated on an aircraft carrier. Every evolution with this aircraft is taken step-by-step because we don’t fully know how it will react to a carrier environment.”

At first sight the X-4B looks extremely similar to the B-2 Stealth Bomber also made by Northrop Grumman over two decades earlier. When looking at the front of the X-47B the design seems to be inspired by the time traveling spacecraft from the 1968 movie ‘The Planet of the Apes’. This odd futuristic look could explain why people thought it was a UFO when the craft was first spotted in December of last year as it was being transported back from Edwards Air Force Base.

For more on the X-47B and it taxi test on the U.S.S. Truman you might try the following articles:

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