Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator flies near the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77). George H.W. Bush on May 14, 2013. US Navy Photo
The Navy aims to build a system of stealthy pilotless aircraft to patrol at a minimum range of 600 nautical miles around an aircraft carrier at a maximum cost of $150 million per orbit, according to May Navy requirements documents obtained by USNI News.
The Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) so-called key performance parameters (KPPs) outline an aircraft that will primarily fill information, reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting (ISRT) roles for the service’s carrier strike group with a limited ability to strike targets at a range of 2,000 nautical miles from the strike group in lightly contested environments, according to the documents. Read More
The Navy has outlined the specifications for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) in a requirements document obtained by USNI News.
Proposed operational ranges of UCLASS. US Naval Institute Illustration
A UCLASS system should be able to conduct two orbits at 600 nautical
miles or one orbit at 1,200 nautical miles. The system should also be
able to conduct a strike mission at 2,000 nautical miles. Read More
Lockheed Martin’s Remote Multi Mission Vehicle in 2010. US Navy Photo
Naval Sea Systems Command has completed a reliability program on a key component of Littoral Combat Ship mine countermeasure (MCM) package, NAVSEA told USNI News on Thursday.
Lockheed Martin’s Remote Multi Mission Vehicle (RMMV) — the autonomous semi-submersible designed to enter mined waters instead of a ship — is now cleared to continue developmental testing with the LCS MCM package. Read More
Northrop Grumman’s X-47B flies over USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on May 14, 2013. US Naval Institute Photo
The Navy is taking its next steps in creating unmanned and autonomous vehicle to provide surveillance and strike capabilities from aircraft carriers, Naval Air Systems Command told USNI News on Monday.
NAVAIR released a request for proposal to four companies on June 10 for further design studies on the Navy’s planned Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system. Read More
The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in March enroute to Singapore. US Navy Photo
At least one Congress member is expected to try and slow development of the Littoral Combat Ship program during debate this week over the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, according to a report in Defense Daily.
The LCS backlash follows the leak of a draft copy of a Government Accountability Office report that called for Congress to slow development of ship construction and the accompanying mission packages. Read More
Lockheed Martin artist conception of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). Lockheed Martin Photo
In light of emerging anti-ship threats the Pentagon is exploring the first new anti-ship missile system since the demise of the Soviet Union.
Under the auspices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—with funding assistance from the Office of Naval Research—DARPA’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) program hopes to field a new anti-ship cruise missile for the Navy, a capability long neglected in the years since the Soviet Union’s collapse. Read More
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel addresses the crew of the USS Freedom (LCS 1) in Singapore on June 2, 2013. Department of Defense Photo
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke highly of the Littoral Combat Ship program and forward deployment over the weekend despite reports that the Government Accountability Office will advise Congress to slow procurement of the ships and mission packages, according to a Friday report from Bloomberg.
“We appreciate your good work,” Hagel told the crew of USS Freedom (LCS-1) said. “What you represent to our country and our partnerships in the Asia-Pacific I don’t think can be overstated. You are really defining a new era of partnership.”
Over the weekend Hagel praised the planned forward deployment four LCS as part of the Pentagon’s rebalance to the Pacific as part of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit — also known as the Shangri-La dialogue. Read More
An Aegis interceptor is launched from the USS Lake Erie (CG-70) during a Missile Defense Agency and Navy test in the mid-Pacific. US Navy Photo
Lockheed Martin beat Boeing and Raytheon to win a $100.7 million contract to for five years worth of upgrades to the Aegis combat system, Naval Sea Systems Command told USNI News on Tuesday. Read More
Proceedings, Oct. 2012
Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control business unit started a series of airborne “captive-carry” testing in May on the sensor suite planned for use for a long-range antiship missile (LRASM). It is being developed for fielding aboard Ticonderoga -class cruisers and Arleigh Burke –class destroyers.
The LRASM program is a science-and-technology (S&T) development initiative managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Advanced Weapon Systems Initiative and the Office of Naval Research.
Navy and DARPA officials say that the current UGM-84 Harpoon antiship missile, in service since 1977 and now on board theTiconderogas and Burkes , will in the future be less capable of penetrating advanced defenses on ships of potentially hostile navies. According to DARPA, without a new weapon, antiship operations against those defenses would require multiple launches and the use of overhead targeting assets.During an initial phase of the program, DARPA in July 2009 awarded Lockheed Martin a $9.9 million contract for demonstration of a new LRASM concept. The program aims at developing a low-signature subsonic missile that uses the airframe built for the AGM-158 joint air-to-surface standoff missile-extended range, also developed by Lockheed Martin and now in production for fielding aboard Air Force strategic bombers and USAF and Navy tactical aircraft.
[Northrop Grumman Photo]
CRYSTAL CITY, VIRGINIA — Three nautical miles from an amphibious assault ship, I toggled a small button labeled “STOVL,” or short take-off and vertical landing. The abbreviation “REDY” flashed in green and I could see thrust vector angles change on my heads-up display in my F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter. I adjusted what my instructor called the cruise control and set my airspeed to 80 kts. All of a sudden, my flight controls changed as the “REDY” turned solid. I had transitioned to vertical flight.
With minimal coaching, after two minutes I had landed safely on the flight deck of a U.S. Navy ship. Though I briefly felt pride after my landing, I quickly realized that a computer had done all of the hard flying for me.
Computers and cockpits are nothing new, but with the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles and the degree to which computers control piloted aircraft today, policy makers and military leaders are asking when pilots can be removed completely from combat aircraft.