Thursday, March 23, 2017

Navy unmanned refueling/surveillance/strike airplane?

via Defense Tech.
“It’s now very tanker focused. We’re looking at what those requirements are — there will probably be a fallout capability, some [intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance] … potentially some strike,” Weiss said.
The changed focus will likely require a new design to previous prototypes in the project, he said.
The Navy has awarded four contracts — to Lockheed, Boeing Co., General Atomics and Northrop Grumman Corp. — for developmental designs on the MQ-25, known as the Stingray. The service plans to request official proposals from companies this summer. The drone could enter service as early as the mid-2020s.
When the Navy thought that they would have F-35's rammed down their necks they pushed for an aerial refueller in their unmanned platform.  Now that they know they're gonna get a better mix then we're gonna see POTENTIALLY a strike option returning.

However this is happening its good news for the Carrier Strike Wing.  First they're gonna free up Super Hornets for other missions and put the pods on UAVs, and second the Navy will have a long range, persistent deep strike platform.  If they're smart and go with the X-47 then it will be a stealth platform to boot.

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