For the U.S. Navy, vertical-takeoff-and-landing has long been the answer to getting aircraft onto as many ships as possible. Cost and complexity has always been the enemy of VTOL, but unmanned technology has rekindled interest. Many ambitious, mostly unfeasible, ideas were tried in the heady years following WW II, and through the Cold War’s peak. Well into the 1980s the Navy had still not given up on its dream of operating high-performance aircraft from small-ship flight decks. But after ...


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