Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Drone catapults from carrier

History made with X-47B launch Tuesday.
U.S. Navy photo
ATLANTIC OCEAN -- In a historic first, the X-47B unmanned aircraft successfully launched from an aircraft carrier today. It was the first-ever catapult launch of a robot aircraft, popularly called a drone. The demonstrator built by Northrop Grumman launched at 11:18 a.m. EDT from the George H.W. Bush off the coast of Maryland, then safely landed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River after a 65-minute flight. Vice Adm. David Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces, called the launch a "watershed event" in naval aviation history. (Sources: C/NET, Wall Street Journal, Naval Air Systems Command Public Affairs, 05/14/13) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds portions of the Global Hawk and Fire Scout drones in Moss Point, Miss.; naval aviators receive initial training in Northwest Florida. Previous