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Navy lands unmanned drone on aircraft carrier, ringing in wave of future

- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2013

For the first time in history, the U.S. Navy landed an unmanned drone aboard one of its aircraft carriers, marking what some are characterizing as the wave of future military sea-based operations.

Aircraft carriers will not be more versatile — and more deadly, said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, in the Wall Street Journal.

"It is not often you get a chance to see the future, but that is what we got to see today," he said, after Wednesday's successful landing of an X47-B craft aboard on the USS Bush, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The drone, a $1.4 billion project that's been fondly dubbed "Salty Dog 502," had left from Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland and landed on the ship, 80 miles off the coast of Norfolk, Va.

"We didn't have someone ... with a stick and throttle and rudder to fly this thing," like the CIA uses, said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, in the Wall Street Journal. "We have automated routines and algorithms.

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