From the Sept. 26 Government Accountability Office report: Navy Strategy for Unmanned Carrier Based Aircraft System Defers Key Oversight Mechanisms.
UCLASS faces several programmatic risks going forward. First, the UCLASS cost estimate of $3.7 billion exceeds the level of funding that the Navy expects to budget for the system through fiscal year 2020. Second, the Navy has scheduled 8 months between the time it issues its request for air vehicle design proposals and the time it awards the air vehicle contract, a process that DOD officials note typically takes 12 months to complete. Third, the UCLASS system is heavily reliant on the successful development and delivery of other systems and software, which creates additional schedule risk. Fourth, the Navy will be challenged to effectively manage and act as the lead integrator for three separate but interrelated segments—air vehicle, carrier, and control system—and 22 other government systems, such as the aircraft landing system, the timing and alignment of which are crucial to achieving the desired UCLASS capability.