It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The Marine Corps is reconsidering the requirements for its large amphibious ship-based unmanned aerial system (UAS), after early industry input showed the service was headed towards something too large and too expensive, the deputy commandant for combat development and integration told reporters today.
Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh said the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) UAS Expeditionary (MUX) program proves why industry input during the requirements-generation process is so important. The MUX initial capabilities document (ICD) made its way through the Joint Requirements Oversight Council process in October 2016 because the Marines were able to prove they were seeking a capability not already found in the joint force – specifically, a large Group 4 or Group 5 UAS capable of operating from a ship or small expeditionary airfield and conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
What the JROC failed to see, though, which industry has told the Marine Corps recently, is that the requirements lend themselves to an MV-22 Osprey-like vehicle in terms of size and cost, Walsh told reporters after speaking at the WEST 2018 event, cohosted by the U.S. Naval Institute and AFCEA.
The MUX program merges what used to be two requirements, and covers seven mission areas, USNI News has previously reported: MAGTF C4 (Command, Control, Communications and Computing with Spectrum Agile Data Routing); early warning; persistent fires; escort; electronic warfare; reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition (RISTA); and tactical distribution.
The US Marine Corps issued a request for information for its proposed ship-based vertical takeoff and landing drone, the MUX aircraft, on 8 March.
MUX, which is short for Marine Air Ground Task Force – Unmanned Expeditionary Capabilities programme, would operate autonomously from the deck of an amphibious assault ship and is designed to fill what the USMC sees as its current inability to provide persistent multi-role aerial coverage 350nm (648km) beyond its ships.
The MUX’s multiple roles would include early warning defence, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and communications relay capabilities, according to the USMC’s request for information. A secondary priority for the aircraft would be offensive air support. The aircraft may also be used for aerial escort and cargo missions, but the USMC indicated that those capabilities are lesser priorities and would likely be taken up by other aircraft.
The aircraft is to have a combat radius between 350nm and 700nm unrefueled with a payload, as well as cruise speeds from 200kt to 300kt (370 km/h to 556 km/h) with full payload. The USMC said in the RFI that MUX’s range would complement the long range capabilities of Lockheed Martin’s F-35B and F-35C, Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey and its Future Vertical Lift aircraft.
According to the 35-page request for information, the Corps wants an aircraft capable of carrying internal and external payloads totaling 9,500 pounds.
Weapons the service wants MUX to carry for various missions include AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles; AIM-9X air-to-air missiles; the advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS) laser-guided rocket; the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM; the AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM); small-diameter bombs; and an expendable unmanned aerial vehicle for early warning and electronic warfare.