LOS ANGELES (AP) - A robotic plane deliberately dropped a bomb near a truck at Edwards Air Force Base on Sunday, marking another step forward for technology the U.S. military hopes will one day replace human pilots on dangerous combat missions. Under human supervision but without human piloting, a prototype of the Boeing Co.'s X-45 took off from the desert base, opened its bomb bay doors, dropped a 250-pound Small Smart Bomb and then landed. The inert bomb struck within inches of the truck it was supposed to hit, Boeing said, adding that had the bomb contained explosives, the target would have been destroyed. "It's absolutely a huge step forward for us. It shows the capability of an unmanned airplane to carry weapons," said Rob Horton, Boeing's chief operator for the mission. "From the video, you see the weapon going down and a huge cloud of dust and the truck shaking around." The X-45A was preprogrammed with the target coordinates and used the satellite-based Global Positioning System to adjust its course. Horton, who was sitting 80 miles from the target, authorized the drone to drop the bomb, which was released from 35,000 feet as the plane flew at 442 mph. The military sees such aircraft taking part in its most dangerous missions, such as bombing enemy radar and surface-to-air missile batteries, in order to clear the path for human pilots. The Y-shaped, tailless plane has a 34-foot wingspan and weighs 8,000 pounds empty. It is the first drone designed specifically to carry weapons into combat. link As these weapons systems continue to become smaller yet more powerfull with advances in technology, the resistance to them will increasingly be more difficult. I would not be suprised to see a full robotic remotely controlled tank in the future as well. Do you suppose this concerns terrorists? Or more importantly, the states that support them?