A drone the size of a fighter jet has taken off from the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier for the first time.
The X-47B unmanned aircraft was launched from the "U.S.S. George H.W. Bush" near the coast of Virginia for a series of test flights.
Larger, carrier-based drones could be launched from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need for permission from other states to use bases on their territory.
The move comes amid growing criticism of America's use of drones to carry out lethal attacks against suspected terrorists.
The U.S. Navy said the X-47B is far larger than its Predator drone, has three times the range, and can be programmed to carry out missions rather than being remotely piloted.
Based on reporting by AP and Reuters