USNI News polled its writers, naval analysts and service members on what they consider the most important military and maritime stories in 2017.
The following is part of a series. Please also see Top Stories: International Acquisition, Navy Operations, Marine Corps Operations, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Acquisition, International Operations and New Administration.
2017 began with the promise of planning for a larger fleet: at the end of 2016, the Navy announced a 355-ship requirement, and the incoming Trump Administration expressed its support for a larger military and a heftier Navy. Few concrete steps were taken this year, though, to begin a buildup – though many programs that will be pivotal to the 355-ship fleet of the future reached significant programmatic milestones in 2017.
Boeing’s MQ-25 unmanned aircraft system is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations next year. The aircraft is designed to provide the U.S. Navy with refueling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. Boeing photo.
Boeing unveiled the first photo of its entry in the MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial vehicle competition today. Read More
Capt. Matthew Kutryk, Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, flies a specially painted CF-18 Hornet commemorating Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation during the Wings Over Wayne Air Show, May 21, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. US Air Force Photo
The Canadian government will start a new competition to buy 88 fighters to replace the aging fleet of Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets, Ottawa announced on Tuesday. Read More
An X-47B during a March 2015 test flight. US Navy Photo
Northrop Grumman will not compete to build the service’s MQ-25A Stingray aerial refueling unmanned aerial vehicle despite being the developer of the test platform that proved a UAV could take off and land from an aircraft carrier. Read More
An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Stingers of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 113 prepares to land on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). US Navy photo.
The Boeing team preparing for the F/A-18E-F Super Hornet service life modification (SLM) program has begun tearing into one of the fleet’s most-used aircraft and found the plane does not have as much age-related damage as predicted, the company’s service life modification program director told USNI News. Read More
Echo Voyager is the newest member to join Boeing’s unmanned undersea vehicle family. The 51-foot vehicle is designed to stay underwater for months at a time. Boeing photo.
The Navy selected Boeing and Lockheed Martin to pursue the Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV) program, which will test the Navy’s ability to manage a rapid-acquisition project and the Navy-industry team’s ability to develop and integrate an unmanned system that operates completely independently of manned ships. Read More
Artist’s Concept of the General Atomics MQ-25 Stingray. GA Image used with permission
Naval Air Systems Command has quietly released the final request for proposals to industry for the unmanned MQ-25 Stingray aerial tanker, USNI News has learned. Read More
A Canadian CF-18 flies in formation with other aircraft off the coast Hawaii. US Navy Photo
THE PENTAGON — The proposed $5.23 billion sale of 18 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighters to Canada received U.S. Department of State approval, marking a significant step toward U.S. ally’s plan to upgrade its aging fighter jet fleet. Read More
Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Richard V. Spencer delivers remarks during the christening ceremony for the littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS-18) on Aug. 26, 2017. US Navy Photo
ARLINGTON, Va. — Five companies in the maritime and defense business have been asked to assist with the Secretary of the Navy-directed investigation into underlying causes of the spate of collisions that have cost the lives of 17 sailors and hundreds and millions of dollars in damage. Read More
Boeing image of the company’s MQ-25A Stingray bid. USNI News Photo
The inclusion of the unmanned MQ-25 Stingray aerial tanker into the U.S. carrier air wing could increase the effective strike range of the strike fighters aboard aircraft carriers by up to 400 nautical miles, the commander of Naval Air Forces told U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings. Read More