I’m not sure whether to be in awe of this or to be totally blase. But Reuters is reporting that for the first time, an unmanned fighter jet landed on the moving deck of an aircraft carrier:
A Northrop Grumman X-47B aircraft nicknamed “Salty Dog 502” slipped out of a cloudy sky off the Virginia coast after a flight from Patuxent River Naval Air Station and dropped its tailhook to snag an arresting cable on the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush sailing in the Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s not often that you get a chance to see the future, but that’s what we got to do today,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who witnessed the landing and likened it to the first manned aircraft landing on a carrier a century ago.
The Salty Dog is one of two experimental X-47B aircraft built by Northrop Grumman as part of a program to test the feasibility of integrating unmanned aircraft into carrier operations, which program director Rear Admiral Mat Winter called “the most dynamic and demanding” environment in the Navy.
Note for my fellow freakishness fans: Mabus might seem familiar as the name that Nostradamus gave the Antichrist. I’m sure this is just a coincidence.