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US Navy Drops new MQ-25A Stingray Draft RFP (and its rather disappointing)

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posted on Jul, 20 2017 @ 08:12 PM
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The Navy issued its latest draft request for proposals for what will be the service’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle, U.S. Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Thursday.

The Wednesday draft RFP for the MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial refueling tanker will be the last refinement of the program requirements before the final RFP goes out to four industry competitors in the fall, Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, Program Executive Officer Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons, told USNI News on Thursday.

...

For example, the MQ-25A effort only has two key performance parameters (KPP) for industry to adhere to in their crafting of the airframe for the MQ-25A.

“In the NDAA 2017 language, the services were given the authority to designate one program as a pilot to reduce the number of key performance parameters that would be in our requirements documents,” Darrah said.
“We have requested from OSD that permission in accordance with that language, and this program was selected, and we have two KPPs.”

According to MQ-25A program manager Capt. Beau Duarte those are:

“Carrier suitability. The system needs to be able to operate off of the aircraft carrier and integrate with all of the subsystems of the carrier. That’s catapults, that’s existing launch and recovery equipment,” he told USNI News on Thursday.

“Mission tanking. Sea-based tanker is the second KPP. It needs to be able to deliver a robust fuel offload at range to support an extension of the air wing and add flexibility of what’s available from a mission tanking perspective. There are a number of key system attributes or other requirements lower than that that are subsequent to [those] and are of lower importance and that will allow us to focus on those two key areas on tanking and carrier suitability and let those be the primary design drivers. “

...

“We are saying that you do have to use the existing aerial refueling store that F/A-18s [and] S-3s have used – and that’s externally carried – and that’s to reduce development, cost and timeline and risk,” Duarte said.


news.usni.org...

I have many, many colorful metaphors about this. None are worthy of our esteemed and rarefied board here.

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posted on Jul, 20 2017 @ 08:15 PM
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a reply to: anzha

How long ago did I say that they had totally screwed this program into the ground? I seem to recall saying that back when it was still UCLASS.



posted on Jul, 20 2017 @ 08:20 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

You totally called it.

I could respect the decision to make it a tanker. Ok. Get something in the air that can carry a lot of fuel for the manned aircraft. I didn't like it, but could respect it.

Now, well, fsck.

It's going to just take up deck space at best. I realize the Nimitz and Ford classes can carry a lot more birds than they do now, but geez.



posted on Jul, 20 2017 @ 08:22 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Yeah, this went from something really useful, to a mommy hatch program. This is pathetic.



posted on Jul, 20 2017 @ 09:48 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I thought it was a forgone conclusion it would be a tanker.



posted on Jul, 20 2017 @ 09:51 PM
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a reply to: penroc3

Reread.

The defense contractors can build whatever UAV they want, but it can only use the existing OTS tanking equipment.

This means the fuel load will be crap.



posted on Jul, 20 2017 @ 10:01 PM
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a reply to: penroc3

The MQ-25 started out as the UCLASS, which was going to be a stealthy, penetrating strike UAV, launched from a carrier. Then it became a limited ISR/strike UAV from a carrier. Then it became a tanker, with some ISR and possibly some strike capability, launched from a carrier. Then it became the MQ-25, which is a straight tanker.



posted on Jul, 21 2017 @ 04:33 AM
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The current approach isnt so bad IMO. At least in theory.
Sure, it sucks that they wont get a VLO strike UAV right away, but i’d rather have some unimpressive UAV deployed on a carrier than yet another failed/cancelled program a couple of years down the road.
Once the tanker UAV has proved the viability of carrier based UAVs as an operational capability, it will be much, much easier to grow from there than implementing a do it all at once solution.
I mean, just look at what the Hornet was back in the eighties and compare it to the Super Hornets and Growlers of today. It wont happen right away, but i’m sure the Stingray platform will start to grow eventually once they get it working.
Not perfect, but given fiscal realities probably all they can get.



posted on Jul, 21 2017 @ 06:55 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

im suprised its not more modular, i know it will obviously have hard points on the wings now and the plumbing to go with the tanking mission. but if i were the Navy i would make it very modular so that when a real stealthy larger tanker comes into regular service they could use this as originally intended



posted on Jul, 21 2017 @ 12:02 PM
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I hated that they were turning it into a tanker but saw the benefits of a stealthy tanker to accompany F-35's into battle but now the fact that they have to carry the F-18's external tanks kills the stealthy aspect of their mission and makes no sense at all.

Wouldn't it make much more sense to produce inexpensive stealth tankers that could possibly be flown on one way missions to greatly extend the range of F-35's in case we needed longer strike missions from a carrier? Send them out to max range, let them refuel the F-35's then crash the drone tanker. I mean this would be an extreme case as you wouldn't ordinarily want to waste your resources but it could catch the enemy of guard when the F-35's strike targets twice as far away as anyone thought possible.

That whole idea would hinge upon the tankers being LO and cheap.



posted on Jul, 21 2017 @ 10:03 PM
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If you think about it, Northrop wins no matter what. The Navy wants this thing flying by 2019ish. Unless someone is willing to spend a hell of a lot of money, Northrop is the only one that has proven software that's actually been on a carrier. About the only option is to go to Northrop, hat in hand, and offer them a portion of the contract.



posted on Jul, 22 2017 @ 10:20 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

General agreement. It might not be a bad choice anyways from an industrial base POV.

However, IIRC, isn't the software required to be shared? The stuff Northrop is flying with is, iirc, originally Boeing's from the the joint UCAV program, but considerably enhanced since.

heh. Can they land a Triton on a carrier deck?



posted on Jul, 22 2017 @ 10:26 AM
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a reply to: anzha

They'll include it in the program details, that they have to use the Northrop software, unless the winner makes a separate deal for it. There's no way they're going to allow anyone to try to develop their own software. That would be a big delay to the program.



posted on Jul, 22 2017 @ 10:33 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Should an unmanned S-3 be used?

alert5.com...


Off the shelf stuff...would the roll on fueling system the Marines have for the V-22 count?



posted on Jul, 22 2017 @ 10:44 AM
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a reply to: anzha

They'd be stupid to not offer it. The S-3 could offload more than anything but the Whale, and would actually be able to go with them part of the way, offloading quite a bit, and make it back.



posted on Jul, 22 2017 @ 10:57 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Its an interesting idea. It has a LOT of growth potential. We'll see if they do offer it though.

Teh Stooppid is riding through like an epidemic.



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