USA   United States Air Force
United States of America

US Air Force  •   •   •   •   •   •   • 

U.S. Navy shapes UCLASS acquisition strategy

U.S. Navy shapes UCLASS acquisition strategy

Upcoming shore-based and carrier tests will help the Navy determine its acquisition strategy for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS), a large, carrier-based, next-generation drone likely to have a large wingspan and high-tech sensors engineered to gather and send back images and data, service officials said.

“The UCLASS will be the first deployed carrier based unmanned air vehicle with persistent ISR and a strike capability,” said Navy spokeswoman Jamie Cosgrove.

There are two related and interwoven trajectories with this UAS technology; the Navy is currently testing an early “demonstrator” model of the aircraft while simultaneously preparing to conduct a full and open competition have the UCLASS ready to fly by 2018 to 2020, service officials explained.

At the same time, the demonstrator will inform the development of what will be the future UCLASS program and next-generation technological capability, said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Unmanned Combat Air System Program Manager.

“The UCAS-D program is an essential early step that will demonstrate the suitability of a low observable relevant unmanned air system operating in the [carrier] environment. The X-47B UCAS {Umanned Combat Air System} demonstrator will conduct launch, recovery, and carrier controlled airspace [CCA] and flight deck handling demonstrations,” he added.

The 10-foot tall 44,000-pound Navy drone is slated for shore-based arrested landings at Paxtuent River, Md., and will then embark upon a series of tests aboard the USS George Bush in May, said Engdahl.

“During the test period, the UCAS-D test team will perform deck handling and ship integration tests, the first aircraft launches from the ship’s catapults, carrier approaches with the aircraft, and potentially the first carrier landings on the flight deck,” Engdahl explained.

So far, two UCAS-D aircraft have been built and delivered by Northrop Grumman, however, many vendors are expected to compete for the upcoming formal Navy competition to develop and build the UCLASS, Navy officials explained.

Two upcoming Requests For Proposal (RFP) are likely to shape the upcoming competition; a draft RfP for a Preliminary Design Review is slated for May to be followed by a formal Technology Development RFP a month later, Cosgrove said.

“We are demonstrating the technology and taking lessons learned from the UCAS-D effort to help the UCLASS program. We are still working on our acquisition strategy,” she added.

The UCAS-D conducted successful flight tests last December aboard the USS Truman, she added.

“Additionally, the UCAS-D program includes Automated Aerial Refueling (AAR) demonstration on a manned surrogate to prove out multiple AAR technologies. Lessons learned from UCAS-D support follow-on acquisition programs,” said Engdahl.

Source: News - 17 April 2013

Photo: The deck handling trials of the U.S. Navy X-47B UCAS-D aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) in Dec 2012 gave Navy sailors their first look at how unmanned systems can be integrated with carrier operations. (Photo by




American Air Force News
African Air Force News
Asian Air Force News
European Air Force News
Middle Eastern AF News
Ocean Air Force News

• After 60 years, Chinook keeps getting better

This month marks 60 years since the Chinook prototype took to the skies, setting the stage for the rotorcraft’s eventual dominance in heavy-lift heroics....>>

• Want to be a fighter pilot? Here's what you'll need on your application

In this video, US Air Force Maj. Justin "Hasard" Lee breaks down what requirements you'll need to meet in order to pursue a career as a fighter pilot in jets like the F-15 Eagle,...>>

• Pentagon Reveals USN F/A-18F Super Hornet Fighters Patrolling Middle East With Stealth-Spotting Infrared Sensors

Photos recently posted by the US Navy show its F/A-18F Super Hornets deployed to the Middle East are now carrying new infrared sensor pods capable of spotting stealth aircraft....>>

• US Army Wants Electronic Jammer Weapon With Missile Defense Capabilities

US Army officials unveiled plans on Tuesday for a vehicle-mounted electronic jamming system that will uniquely have the ability to jam incoming projectiles, fouling their targeting...>>

• USAF 416th FLTS, AFRL Tests “Gray Wolf” Cruise Missile

The USAF 416th Flight Test Squadron recently completed a round of tests of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s “Gray Wolf” prototype cruise missile at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif...>>

• NASA places order for three Airbus H135 helicopters

The U.S. agency will use the aircraft for security during rocket launches, emergency medical services and qualified personnel transport....>>


 Webmaster: REFLX DESIGN - © 2011 xairforces / Aviation Society,