Airbus says it has successfully tested a new type of jet propelled aircraft that could speed the development of unmanned flight.
The European aerospace firm said the unmanned, jet-propelled craft flew by itself for around seven minutes over a test site in Overberg, South Africa.
"We are increasingly shifting our focus towards these kinds of innovative concepts, in particular for the development of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), so that we can develop products quickly and efficiently for a growing market," said Grazia Vittadini, head of engineering at Airbus Defence and Space in a release Tuesday.
The flight followed a pre-set course over the airfield and Airbus said the "Sagitta" craft used automated take-off and landing capabilities. Connection to the ground during flight is maintained via data links.