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The Unmanned Killer Bomber: The X-47B Drone

Updated on May 20, 2012

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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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      These drones are bigger than I thought. It makes you wonder how they can fly past enemy territory undetected. I guess after the last loss of a drone, the US had to come up with newer and stronger prototypes. Great hub article.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      I wonder at what point battlefields will be between machines that are "pre-programmed" and what will happen after one side destroys the other side's machines. Very interesting hub.