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Drone Completes First-Ever Automated Carrier Landing

| 11 Jul 2013 02:55

A U.S. Navy drone named "Salty Dog 502" has successfully completed the first aircraft carrier landing ever carried out by an unmanned, automated machine.

Today is a historic day, my friends, for today we have met the vanguard of our destruction. A U.S. Navy X-47B drone with the innocuous-sounding nickname "Salty Dog 502" has performed the first-ever automated landing aboard an aircraft carrier, taking humanity one giant leap closer to annihilation.

An automated landing may not seem like a big deal, but landing on an aircraft carrier is one of the hardest jobs there is for a human pilot. The deck itself is a relatively tiny strip of real estate floating on the undulating waves of the sea, you're approaching it at something just shy of ludicrous speed and putting wheels on it is just half the battle: You also have to catch a steel cable with your arrestor hook or it's back around for another try, assuming you don't end up in the drink.

The X-47B is a "tailless, strike-fighter sized aircraft" developed by Northrop Grumman under the Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The Northrop Grumman website says the X-47B "is designed to help the U.S. Navy explore the future of unmanned carrier aviation" and will "help set the stage for the development of a more permanent, carrier-based fleet of unmanned aircraft."

And in case there was any doubt, Salty Dog 502 performed the carrier landing not just once, but twice. We are so doomed.

Source: U.S. Navy (YouTube)

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