This looks like a scene from a sci-fi game or movie, but it's actually a photo from one of the latest tests of the X-47B unmanned combat aircraft on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The US Navy is getting really close to the future, people: Combat drones launched automatically from motherships.
The Navy's X-47B completed its final test aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Aug. 24 and returned to its home base at Naval Air Station Patuxent River after eight days at sea.
While underway, the X-47B flew in the carrier pattern with manned aircraft for the first time and conducted a total of five catapult launches, four arrestments and nine touch-and-go landings, including a night time shipboard flight deck handling evaluation.
According to the Navy, everything went flawlessly.