The US Navy has conducted a key test of its new unmanned, tail-less fighter jet.
The Northrop Grumman-designed X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System is designed as a fully-capable complement to existing manned fighter jets.
The plane is very large, with a wingspan of 62.1 feet, and has a strange design without tapered flat wings.
Instead it has a bulged, muscular look and an air-intake slit at the front which currently glows red, making the craft look like - in the words of Wired magazine - "a Cylon Raider from Battlestar: Galactica".
The main definition point of the craft - not to be confused with the Navy's (also terrifying) X37B space plane - is that it would be far more easily programmable than current drones. Instead of complex remote controls it could fly itself on a pre-defined course, while correcting for mistakes and weather.
X47B would also be based on an aircraft carrier - and a key part of getting it into combat is proving it can take off and land on such a small target.
Now the Navy has demonstrated the X-47B conducting an 'arrested landing' for the first time. In an arrested landing the plane uses a landing hook to catch a heavy cable extended across the ship - or in this case a landing strip - to bring it to a halt.
"This precision, shore-based trap by the X-47B puts the UCAS Carrier Demonstration program on final approach for a rendezvous with naval aviation history," said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the Navy's UCAS program manager.
"It moves us a critical step closer to proving that unmanned systems can be integrated seamlessly into Navy carrier operations."Suggest a correction