Thursday, June 07, 2018

USMC's Super UAV won't be so super after-all....

As the Marine Corps moves forward with its plan for a large unmanned aerial system that can take off and land from the deck of a ship, the list of things the drone needs to do in order to meet service requirements is narrowing dramatically.

The final design for the drone the Marines are calling the MUX may not be able to carry weapons, conduct logistics and resupply missions, or escort the MV-22 Osprey, officials said at an industry day near Quantico, Virginia Wednesday.

All of those mission sets have been moved to "Tier 2" or "Tier 3" requirements, and earmarked for other aircraft in planning.

On the list of Tier 1 priorities remain airborne early warning capabilities, electronic warfare, comms relay and command-and-control. In short, the MUX will be an eye-in-the-sky for the Marine Corps and a network platform to expand the reach of manned aircraft and enhance communication.

It's a significantly more modest dream than the concept Marine officials started to pitch several years ago of an unmanned aircraft that could carry the same weapons as an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and keep up with an MV-22. 
Story here. 

Well that dream didn't last very long!

Makes sense though.  How could you have a UAV step up and do many of the things the F-35 was suppose to do and justify that to Congress and the public?  More importantly where would you get the money with sequestration looming its ugly head in a year or two?

The real question is whether the V-247 will still be in the running.  I get the impression that a much simpler solution will win the day with these downgraded requirements.  Will Bell even present the machine under these conditions.

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