Northrop Grumman Achieves First-Ever Carrier Landing of a Robo-Plane

For Northrop Grumman , 2013 is turning into a year of firsts.

In May, the defense contractor's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator successfully conducted the first-ever launch from the deck of a moving aircraft carrier. Yesterday, it made the first-ever landing.


X-47B. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In a joint press release Wednesday, the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman described how the Northrop Grumman-built aircraft landed on the deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia at 12:23 p.m. -- sans pilot. Launched from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland earlier in the day, the X-47B was remotely piloted by a mission operator aboard the carrier, flown 35 minutes to its target, there made several planned precision approaches, and then made an arrested landing safely on the carrier deck.

In so doing, in the words of Navy UCAS program manager Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the plane proved "beyond a shadow of a doubt, that tailless unmanned aircraft can integrate seamlessly and operate safely from an aircraft carrier at sea."

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The article Northrop Grumman Achieves First-Ever Carrier Landing of a Robo-Plane originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Northrop Grumman. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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