U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman by Chad Slattery
For the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman, it's shaping up to be a banner year in unmanned flight. While the carrier-based autonomous X-47B continues to hit milestones aboard the USS George H.W. Bush somewhere off the East Coast, out west in Palmdale, Calif., today the Navy flew its MQ-4C Triton maritime drone for the first time, marking the beginning of a sea change (pardon the pun) in the way the U.S. military patrols the oceans. The drone flew for 80 minutes and reached an altitude of 20,000 feet.