The Unmanned Killer Bomber: The X-47B Drone
Imagine a bomber, unmanned, loaded with 4,500 pounds of bombs or missiles, flying 30,000 feet and spotting a target like a tank, troop concentrations, while being undetected by enemy radar. If you have, this is the Navy's X-47B drone bomber being tested now and due to be operational by 2013. The X-47C will carry 10,000 pounds of bombs. Both travel at .45 mach.
Currently, two exist and testing off the Carrier USS Eisenhower. Each costs $800 million. The plane will carry a complement of advanced SEAD ordinance and accurately target multiple enemies simultaneously and remain over the target for a considerable time attacking. The X-47B is a computer-controlled unmanned aircraft system that takes off, flies a preprogrammed mission, and then returns to base – all in response to mouse clicks from a mission operator. The operator actively monitors the X-47B air vehicle's operation using simple situational awareness displays, but does not fly it via remote control, as some unmanned systems are operated. The X-47B has a maximum unrefueled range of over 2,000 miles (3,200 km), and an endurance of more than six hours.
This is a much advanced Predator, where on a typical mission, up to 150 people are involved in one drone mission. Since the X-47B will be flying off a carrier, only a few operators will be needed.
As usual, information about its compostion is secret but it is safe to assume it will be material like the current drones or B-2 bomber. If all of the tests pass, America will have one awesome new bomber drone flying off US carriers.
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