By CRISTINA SILVA
NAPLES, Italy — An experimental drone that could change the future of naval aviation has survived its first round of testing aboard an aircraft carrier, Navy officials say.
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System went through a series of mechanical and engineering tests designed to evaluate its compatibility with the Navy’s aircraft carriers during a two-week stint aboard the nuclear powered USS Harry S. Truman.
“I’m a believer that this is only the beginning,” Don Blottenberger, program manager for the Navy’s unmanned aircraft program, said in a statement. “There is a lot ahead for our program and a lot of hard work behind us. I look at Truman as the beginning of future unmanned integration with the fleet.”
Similar aircraft could eventually be used to deliver cargo to ships at sea, carry out airstrikes and conduct surveillance, according to Navy officials.