UFO Identfied

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 9:58am

Mysterious craft recently spotted on Maryland highway was a US Navy drone.

Last month, Facebook and Twitter went crazy after the “Beltway UFO” was spotted on a truck near Washington, DC.

The mysterious cargo has since identified as the X-47B drone.

It's now at the Patuxent River Naval Station for testing, along with the only other drone of its type in the world.

The unmanned drones capture images and gather other intelligence and can fly above 40,000 feet.

They have no tail and folding wings and are shorter and wider than many drones, in order to easily fit on a carrier.

“This aircraft flies itself - it’s autonomous, as we say -- so it takes off by itself, flies around the preplanned mission, and it will come back and land all on its own,” lead test engineer Matt Funk explains. “It’s controlled by keyboard and mouse. There’s no direct stick-and-throttle control like a manned aircraft.”

In the fall it will become the first drone stationed at sea.

“Nobody has ever operated an unmanned system of tactical aircraft size on an aircraft carrier,” Unmanned Combat Air System Program Manager Capt. Jaime Engdahl notes.

Eventually an unmanned aircraft on an aircraft carrier could have strike capability, but at the moment these UFOs -- unmanned flying objects -- are demonstration drones.

The $1.5 billion drone program runs through 2014.

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