Salty Dog 502, X-47B Drone, First to Land on Aircraft Carrier

US Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System drone, nicknamed Salty Dog 502, successfully landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush at sea.  The Navy press release reads, in part: “Today’s demonstration was the first time a tailless, unmanned autonomous aircraft landed on a modern aircraft carrier…”   The Washington Post commented on the ability of the drone to operate independently of remote pilot control:  While the X-47B still followed a flight path scripted by personnel on the ground, it executed the landing entirely on its own, calculating by itself how fast to approach the ship and precisely when to put its wheels down.   Thanks to Alaric Bond and Irwin Bryan for passing along the news.

X-47B Completes First Carrier-based Arrested Landing

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2 Responses to Salty Dog 502, X-47B Drone, First to Land on Aircraft Carrier

  1. Doug Faunt says:

    Hm, they had a lot of confidence in the bird to have that E2 outboard and have those people on deck where an errant aircraft or broken arresting wire could have gotten them. Maybe there was a cut in this video, but I definitely saw a green jersey on deck in a vulnerable position in another shot.
    I was a plane captain or AT trouble shooter on a number of carrier-qual dets in 67-69.

  2. Rick Spilman says:

    I read that the drone took off and landed more than once. The video might have been of the last landing. Nevertheless, it all seems a bit nonchalant.