The unmanned airplane landed on the USS George H.W. Bush after a 35 minutes flight from naval air station in Maryland. It was the first for the fighter-sized drone.
The X-47B unmanned combat air vehicle, originally intended as the U.S. Navy’s first robot ground attack aircraft, will function as an aerial refueling and reconnaissance drone with a limited strike capability. Made by Northrop-Grumman, was specifically designed for aircraft carrier-based operations.
Northrop-Grumman wanted the prototype X-47B to enter service as the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system, which was to have begun operations with the U.S. Navy in the 2020s. The cancellation of the UCLASS project, however, killed any hope the X-47B would have entered Navy service as the “Stingray” reconnaissance and attack drone.