Navy's unmanned X-47B warplane makes its first carrier takeoff

05/15/2013 | CNET

The Navy successfully launched the first full-sized drone aircraft off the deck of a carrier at sea, inaugurating a new era of unmanned aerial warfare. The X-47B prototype -- which cost $1.8 billion to develop -- flew for about 65 minutes before heading to a naval air station for a landing. "Today we saw a small, but significant pixel in the future picture of our Navy as we begin integration of unmanned systems into arguably the most complex warfighting environment that exists today: the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier," said Vice Adm. David Buss, commander of Naval Air Forces.

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