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X47B flying at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Photo by AFFTC Aerial Photographer Christian Turner.
When a new military aircraft was transported across the country to Maryland last year on a flat-bed truck, many mistook it for a UFO.
Soon the experimental warplane will be flying over St. Mary’s County, Southern Maryland News reports.
The X-47B is a tailless, unmanned jet aircraft built by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy. The aircraft is intended to operate off of aircraft carriers and from bases on land.
The Navy will begin test flights out of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station soon, and held a meeting this week briefing local government.
From Southern Maryland News:
“When you see this flying around, it’s not a UFO,” said Commissioner Todd Morgan (R).
The aircraft is being tested at the catapult launch at one of Pax River’s runways. It flies around the perimeter of the base and out over the Chesapeake Bay, said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, project manager. So the public might see it from the Gov. Thomas Johnson Memorial Bridge over the Patuxent River, or from Point Lookout State Park."
The Navy hopes to be landing the aircraft on aircraft carriers on 2013, and be able to conduct aerial refueling of the unmanned planes by 2014. The drones could eventually become the Navy’s primary combat fighter.