U.S. Navy drones: Coming to a carrier near China?

The U.S. is developing aircraft carrier-based drones that could provide…

The U.S. is developing aircraft carrier-based drones that could provide a crucial edge as it tries to counter China’s military rise.

American officials have been tightlipped about where the unmanned armed planes might be used, but a top Navy officer has told The Associated Press that some would likely be deployed in Asia.

“They will play an integral role in our future operations in this region,” predicted Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, which covers most of the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Land-based drones are in wide use in the war in Afghanistan, but sea-based versions will take several more years to develop. Northrop Grumman conducted a first-ever test flight — still on land — earlier this year.

Source: Eric Talmadge for the Associated Press.

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