Navy to activate first vertical UAV unit in 2013

The Navy plans to activate its first operational vertical take-off unmanned air vehicle (VTUAV) unit in 2013, reports Zach Rosenberg at

The VTUAV unit, designated HSM-35 and based at NAS North Island in San Diego, Calif., will be equipped with the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout and also manned Sikorsky MH-60Rs.

The Navy is in the midst of major UAV competitions and purchases, including the Northrop MQ-4C broad area maritime surveillance system that will partially replace the Lockheed Martin P-3, and the Boeing/Insitu RQ-21 Integrator for tactical reconnaissance around ships. In addition, by the end of the decade the Navy also plans to deploy an unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike fleet, with the Northrop X-47B and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Avenger as likely frontrunners.


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