Boeing X-45 (top) and Northrop Grumman X-47B
April 14, 2009: An unidentified, jet propelled UAV has been spotted operating from an American airbase in Afghanistan. It’s a flying wing design, similar to the X-45s and X-47s built as development aircraft for the U.S. Air Force and Navy. These UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) were built to carry weapons, and the one spotted in Afghanistan may have a bomb bay as well.
The U.S. Air Forces X-45A combat UAV (UCAV) dropped its first smart bomb in 2004. There are also purely reconnaissance jet powered UAVs built as experimental vehicles.
Last year, the U.S. Navy rolled out its first combat UAV. This was part of a six year long, $636 million contract to build and test two X-47B aircraft. The test program calls for first flight this year and first carrier landing in two years. The 15 ton X-47B has a wingspan of 62 feet (whose outer 15 foot portions fold up to save space on the carrier). It carries a two ton payload and be able to stay in the air for twelve hours.
Source: Strategy Page.