An unmanned plane piloted by a string of computer algorithms landed on an aircraft carrier for the first time Wednesday as the tailhook of the drone known as “Salty Dog 502” caught the third wire of the ship’s deck and abruptly came to a halt.OK, through being 22? Good, now grow up and open your aperture. Now the real important picture.
Top Navy officials repeatedly hailed as historic the successful landing—which after countless tests and simulations on land was not much in doubt.
The X-47B landed on the deck of the USS Bush, steaming 80 miles of the coast of Norfolk, Va., at 1:40 pm. The drone had taken off from Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland escorted by two Navy F-18 fighter planes.
After the first landing, the crew of the Bush turned the drone around and catapulted it off the ship for a second go around, amid applause and cheers of the assembled sailors.
Why this pic? Simple - I'm interested in how many can I physically wedge on to a carrier deck and/or hangar bay. I'll waive the flight control issue etc - but once you know how many you can actually pack in your helmet bag and carry (given tradeoffs for other aircraft etc) - then we can start to plan orbits, sorties, loss-rate mitigation, etc.
Now, if there were a way to stack them like so many Pringles .....