The US Marines want a lot from the MUX drone platform which they plan to have operational capability by 2026. The future platform is a Group 5 which is the largest class of military drone. It will be equipped to fight from sea as well as land.
Lt Gen Davis says this future drone will not be a competitor with the Corps’ new F-35B Lightning II 5th-generation fighter but a collaborator, able to team with the aircraft on mission.
However, the megadrone will have AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, AIM-9X Sidewinder missil and all of the weapons that an F-35 will carry, maybe even the sensors the F-35 will carry.
Ultimately they want an unmanned aircraft that can do everything a manned aircraft can.
He wants to see a tech demonstration flight of the MUX by 2018 and early operational capability for the system by 2024.
The megadrone may end up replicating all capabilities of the F-35 and be provide 7 days a week and 24 hour a day support. However, any superior duplication with a lower priced system will not mean cancelling or displacing the trillion(s) of dollars of F-35 budget. This is likely because the military-industrial complex would then prevent the megadrone from being built.
The military–industrial complex (MIC) is an informal alliance between a nation’s military and the defense industry which supplies it, seen together as a vested interest which influences public policy. The term is most often used in reference to the system behind the military of the United States, where it is most prevalent and gained popularity after its use in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 17, 1961
SOURCES – DOD Buzz