UCLASS to be Descoped for CBARS Conversion AKA MQ-25 Stingray
July 4/19: MD-5A Frequentis Defense won an $8.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for the MD-5A Unmanned Carrier Aviation Mission Control System, which will support the MQ-25 Stingray drone. The deal provides non-recurring engineering and logistics for the design, development, test, manufacture and repair of the system. The integrated computer system will transport voice communications from carrier-based air vehicle operators to local audio switches, local radio terminals and remote radio terminals. The MQ-25 is the Defense Department’s first aircraft carrier-based unmanned air vehicle. Frequentis will perform work in Columbia, Maryland, and is expected to be finished by March 2021.
The idea of UAVs with full stealth and combat capabilities has come a long way, quickly. Air forces around the world are pursuing R&D programs, but in the USA, progress is being led by the US Navy.
Their interest is well-founded. A May 2007 non-partisan report discussed the lengthening reach of ship-killers. Meanwhile, the US Navy’s carrier fleet sees its strike range shrinking to 1950s distances, and prepares for a future with fewer carrier air wings than operational carriers. Could UCAV/UCAS vehicles with longer ranges, and indefinite flight time limits via aerial refueling, solve these problems? Some people in the Navy seem to think that they might. Hence UCAS-D/ N-UCAS, which received a major push in the FY 2010 defense review. Now, Northrop Grumman is improving its X-47 UCAS-D under contract, even as emerging privately-developed options expand the Navy’s future choices as it works on its new RFP.
N-UCAS: Programs & Potential
First Step: UCAS-D / X-47B
Next Step: UCLASS
UCAS-D: Program & Team
UCAS-D: Northrop Grumman’s X-47B
Naval UCAVs: Contracts and Key Events
FY 2016 – 2019
FY 2008 – 2009
FY 2005 – 2007
Additional UCAV Readings
News & Views
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