The US Navy's Robot Jet Fighter Goes for Its First Cruise

By Sam Biddle on at

UAV's are big, but they're not jet big — something the US Navy's trying to correct with its X-47B, which aims to replace traditional fighters. You know, the ones with humans in them. Watch the drone killer stretch its wings a little.

This isn't the 19m wide X-47B's first time in the air. Rather, it's the first time it's been able to pull up its landing gear and go into full "cruise mode" — an important step that gives the craft a chance to flex all of its sophisticated onboard navigational and sensor equipment. It's still experimental right now, but if and when it's ever deployed for real, it'll be able to pack 2,000kg of weaponry, refuel in the air, and land at sea. That's a lot of killing power in a robot — and all guided by someone far away. Given the recent (huge) success of the military's drone fleet, I expect this thing to get some serious backing in the future. [Defense Tech]