[Video] U.S. Navy launches its killer drone off the deck of an aircraft carrier. A new era has begun.

A new era for naval aviation has just begun.

On May 14, the US Navy successfully launched the Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) off the deck of an aircraft carrier for the first time. A breakthrough for robotic aviation and military Implementation of unmanned systems.

The video, just released by the U.S. Navy shows the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS) demonstrator – please note that both UCAV and UCAS acronyms are used for this drone, being taxied and then catapult-launched from the flight deck of USS G. W. Bush.

X-47B launch

Ship-board testing had started on Dec. 9, 2012.

On the flight deck the X-47B (that on Nov.29, successfully completed its first land-based catapult launch from Naval Air Station Patuxent River) is controlled using an arm-mounted control display unit (CDU).

The new gadget is a special remote control for moving the X-47B on flight decks which attaches to the wrist, waist and one hand. Through the device, deck operators ahve access to a display and  can control the aircraft’s throttle, tailhook, steering, brakes and perform several other functions associated with maneuvring an aircraft on deck.

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.