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UAV makes first landing on aircraft carrier

The Northrop Grumman X-47B has become the first unmanned air vehicle to land aboard an aircraft carrier.

The landing at 13:40, which saw the aircraft approach the USS George H W Bush and 'trap' by running a trailing hook into the wire, follows its first aircraft carrier launch in May. The aircraft launched from a ground base at Patuxent River, Maryland, and flew one, pre-planned missed approach to the carrier before completing the historic landing.

The X-47B is being used as a technology demonstrator in advance of the unmanned carrier-launched surveillance and strike programme, which is intended to result in an operational carrier-launched UAV.

Four companies received development contracts to develop their respective concepts: Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. 

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