Navy expected to issue RFP soon for UCLASS aircraft

The Navy tentatively plans to issue a draft request for proposal for its unmanned carrier-launched surveillance and strike aircraft program by Dec. 31, reports Flightlobal.

The service hopes to begin operational service of the UCLASS aircraft by 2020, according to Navy budget documents. Navy officials envision that initial operations would consist of a small squadron of about a half-dozen UCLASS aircraft that would train with a carrier wing, but not necessarily deploy with that specific carrier, the story said.

The UCLASS aircraft's primary mission would be intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, but it is expected to have a significant strike capability, the story said.

Northrop is expected to pitch a derivative of its X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator for the UCLASS program. Other companies interested in the opportunity include Lockheed Martin, General Atomics and Boeing, the story said.


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