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11/07/2013 06:23 BST | Updated 10/09/2013 06:12 BST

US Navy's Unmanned X47-B Jet Lands On Aircraft Carrier For The First Time (VIDEO)

Ethical debates about their use aside, unmanned military drones are getting more and more impressive.

And the US Navy's X-47B unmanned combat air system has claim to being the coolest of them all.

This fighter jet-sized unmanned plane is no mere reconnaissance drone. It's actually more equivalent in scale and ability to a true fighter plane, and now it's got a new trick up its sleeve - landing on aircraft carriers.

The Navy announced on Wednesday that it has successfully landed the X-47B on a carrier for the first time.

The advance means it will soon be able to launch drones without needing permission from other countries to use their airbases.

The craft took off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland before approaching the USS George H.W. Bush, which is located close to Virginia.

It landed with the use of a tailhook which caught a wire on the ship - just as fighter jets do currently. This kind of 'arrested landing' has only been performed by a jet on land previously, which is easier since the ship is constantly moving during landing.

"Your grandchildren and great grandchildren and mine will be reading about this historic event in their history books. This is not trivial, nor is it something that came lightly," said Rear Admiral Mat Winter, program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons for the US Navy.

Take a look at more pictures below.

X47B

The Northrop Grumman-designed X-47B 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.