U.S. Navy officials have successfully landed a remotely controlled drone on an aircraft carrier, long considered the most challenging feat in naval aviation.
The U.S. Navy released video showing an unmanned Northrop Grumman X-47B aircraft nicknamed Salty Dog 502 landing Wednesday on the on the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush sailing in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the southeastern United States.
The craft landed following a flight from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in the the southeastern state of Virginia.
The X-47B has a 3,200-kilometer range and can carry the equivalent of two precision-guided bombs. It improves the prospects of a long-range, radar-evading, unmanned reconnaissance and strike aircraft.
Analysts say a carrier-based drone with those capabilities could be used to counter countries like China and Iran that have been developing missiles and other weapons aimed at forcing the U.S. Navy to operate far from shore in a conflict.