Off the coast of Virgina, the U.S. Navy has successfully landed an X-47B drone aboard an aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush, the Navy announced.
The landing the fighter-jet sized drone, which is larger than the Predator drones common in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, represents a watershed moment in the wielding of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Drones are an incredible weapon because of their ability to project power. Without ever actually putting a person in peril, the U.S. military has expanded its kinetic and reconnaissance reach to previously unseen limits.
But the rise of drone warfare has led the U.S. to create secret bases in remote parts of the world from which they can launch and recover the often top-secret aircraft.
Today, that all changed. Today, the U.S. showed that it can tether the clandestine nature of the drones to the power projection ability of the largest Navy in the world.
Now, theoretically, the American military will not need a secret base, or the permission of countries where they are located, like Saudi Arabia, to launch unmanned aerial vehicles.
“By evolving and integrating new technology like the X-47B and the unmanned aircraft to follow, carriers will remain relevant throughout their 50-year lifespan,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
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