The United States Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program is to develop an aircraft carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle to provide an unmanned intelligence and strike asset to the fleet. The UCLASS will be “an autonomous aircraft capable of precision strike in a contested environment, and it is expected to grow and expand its missions so that it is capable of extended range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare, tanking, and maritime domain awareness. After the selection in 2015, a prototype Uclass drone should be flying in 2018 and should be deployed about 2022-2023. The program is funded in the most recent 2016 Pentagon budget proposal.
One of four designs will be selected in 2015:
1. Northrop Grumman is offering a design based off their X-47B demonstrator
2. Lockheed Martin is offering the Lockheed Sea Ghost
3. Boeing is offering a design that may be based off the Phantom Ray
Boeing Phantom Works has studied a UCLASS design featuring moderate stealth capabilities and long endurance. Image: Boeing
4. General Atomics is offering the Sea Avenger, a naval version of their original land-based Avenger.
SOURCES – Wikipedia, Boeing, Northrop rumman, General Atomics, Lockheed
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