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Lockheed to US Navy: Please Consider a Flying Wing for the MQ-25 Stingray

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posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 05:24 PM
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Lockheed is strongly suggesting to the Navy to build a flying wing for the Stingray. Their argument is the Stingray will then be able to be upgraded later with materials to make it stealthy since the flying wing shape is already a good place to start for stealth. That would allow the USN to upgrade and update the platform as they go and even produce daughter systems (RAQ-26s, frex) that would allow for true strike, etc. at a reduced cost.

This is not a bad suggestion, all things considered. HOWEVER!

This would probably give whatever winning contractor a serious lock on the flight deck for a long, long time. And that concerns me.

I'm an industrial base kinda guy. So....

There is a warning sign already about the MQ-25/MQ-XX/Stringray:

Multiple navy guys are saying the Stringray will do its fueling based on external pods it will carry rather than a large internal store. This will only free up strike platforms, not really greatly increase the flight deck capability like I'd hope.

It would not be super hard to make a drone with a modular payload capability where a fuel tank could be attached and detached like the modular passenger pods that were recently shown off. Rather I'd suggest something under the aircraft rather than on top, but grossly its the same thing. It'll also allow for the pods to be fueled before the Stingray were to touch down, decreasing the time before it could be aloft again and fueling aircraft. The modular bay would also allow for other modules to be put in, like, perhaps, a big missileer payload, as something like a mini arsenal plane. As the missileer, the -25 could carry at least 12 Meteors (or whatever successor missile) if 1/2 the payload had to be dedicated to structural and other mass.

Probably won't happen, but...

news.usni.org...




posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 05:34 PM
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a reply to: anzha

A flying wing makes sense for a lot of reasons. No matter what the Navy says, this isn't going to be a useful tanker for more than bingo diverts and a few more landing attempts. A wing is efficient to begin with so with it staying near the ship it can offload more fuel. Except for Avenger the other UCLASS entries were wing designs.



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 05:53 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

It makes you wonder *WHY* Lockheed would be saying that if the majority of the designs were flying wings then, huh? I mean, I'd think it'd be pretty much in the bag the navy would have to, unless Lockheed heard GA had a lead for some reason.

grmph about the light fuel load. You're probably right, but, damnit, they really need a real tanker.



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 06:00 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Makes sense to have a base stealthy design and then add components as needed. Probably makes too much sense for the government to do.



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 06:04 PM
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a reply to: pavil

Unless GA had it sown up, the design was going to be a flying wing, sooooo....what does that say?



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 06:15 PM
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Just have a modular payload centresection?



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 06:23 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Look at the size of real tankers the world over. They're all way too big for a ship. The only way they're getting a ship based tanker that's useful is if they put Hercs on board.



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 06:43 PM
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a reply to: anzha

I think it may say that LM might have already matured their Sea Ghost to a level that they don't want to have to start over if the Navy comes out with some vastly different requirements that the Sea Ghost won't fit.



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 06:48 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

That makes sense, actually.

I really hope the Navy requires enough fuel be carried to actually extend the range of the fighters instead of what Zaph said, but...well...zaph is often right.



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 08:13 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I think you could do it with a C-2 Greyhound-sized turboprop-powered craft, or even a pilotless C-2. Something fat, slow, and decidedly UN-stealthy that can loiter in protected airspace like an E-2, with 2-3 per carrier rotating so that one is always on-station for the F-18's to top off from.

It wouldn't be a KC-130, but it should be able to carry enough go-juice to top off 2-5 hornet's at a whack.
edit on 15-3-2016 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 08:27 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: anzha

Look at the size of real tankers the world over. They're all way too big for a ship. The only way they're getting a ship based tanker that's useful is if they put Hercs on board.


You could get a decent fuel load out of a 70,000-80,000 lb gross-weight. If nothing else, it's no worse than a Super Hornet, and probably better considering you could put higher bypass ratio fans on it. It frees up the F-18's for other duty and reduces the hours being put on them. If the goal is just to get a cheap IFR ability, then this isn't the way to go. But when you look at it as the Navy getting experience with integrated UAV flight ops AND filling a need for IFR platforms at the same time, it makes a bit more sense.



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 09:26 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

That's pretty much all they're looking for is something to free up the Hornets that normally carry the buddy pods.



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 09:44 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

You know, with the dwindling size of American carrier air wings (and the growing size of American carriers)....

Someone at Boeing should try digging around the junk closets in Long Beach to try and dig out the A-3's tooling, so they could rip out out the cockpit, stuff it with fuel tanks, and stick a pair of PW1000G's on it. Now that'd be a UAV to get the USN some serious fuel poundage up there, and it would even keep Boeing's defense business alive!

(Ok, I'll leave now...)
edit on 15-3-2016 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 15 2016 @ 10:38 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby

The capacity for the size of the air wings isn't smaller on the Nimitz and Fords. We have just placed less on deck, mostly for budget reasons, as I understand. It ought to be physically possible to boost the numbers back up, but financially might be another matter.

OTOH, if we did go put 6 to 8 Stingrays on the carriers, it would not take the place of anything already there and would tank a fair amount, especially of they can be made to loiter for long periods.

My personal hunch is the number of manned fighters will stay roughly the same, but they will load up a bunch of UCAVs in addition.




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