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first MQ-25 delivered

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posted on Oct, 4 2019 @ 04:16 AM
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Uuumm wsnt that what they wanted for the X47b?Till they killed it..?




posted on Oct, 4 2019 @ 04:40 AM
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a reply to: Blackfinger

No. The X-47B was never going to be anything but a demonstrator.



posted on Oct, 8 2019 @ 10:54 PM
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posted on Oct, 9 2019 @ 02:52 AM
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Its a wonder they didnt improve the design and allow it to be modular for different tasks after the airframe worked so well in testing.



posted on Oct, 9 2019 @ 11:13 AM
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a reply to: Blackfinger

They did... X-47C.

And then the Navy decided it wanted a new competition with new requirements. Then it needed better signature requirements, which meant the tailless designs had an edge over all the tailed-competitors and focused on ISR/Light-strike. Four designs got approved for the PDR phase.
Then it wanted more range and payload for a strike aircraft, which was going to be extremely difficult to conduct carrier ops without a tail. Then it decided that was hard and expensive, so they went back to ISR with very limited strike capability and limited signature control. Then it was back to a long-range, high endurance ISR platform with heavy payload and "growth capability".
Then they weakened signature requirements again, and asked for a (mostly) tanker, which still probably needs a tail and opened up the competition to other teams. Each of the teams was using their own money to develop (and modify) their original PDR designs for the original requirements. Shortly after this fourth change in requirements (and now a new program name--CBARS), NG threw their hands in the air and said "# it. You guys have no idea what you're doing. We're not wasting any more of our time and money" and walked away from the competition.

But gathering digital dust somewhere are a pile of scaled up X-47 derivatives optimized for all the different phases of the original UCLASS competition.



posted on Oct, 9 2019 @ 12:16 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

excellent summary

I don't think anyone build anything specifically for UCLASS. Just repurposed vehicles from other programs, if that. But just going by paper studys, probably enough iterations to equip the odd carrier air wing between the competitioners.



posted on Oct, 9 2019 @ 12:52 PM
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a reply to: mightmight

Well, whatever we're calling the thing Boeing unveiled was completed five years ago, and designed in 2011. The UCLASS RFI was in 2010. PDR for the four designs/teams was mid-2013. Development contracts followed shortly. RFP's were drafted for each contractor based on the PDR's early 2014 (first scheduled for 2011-12). Boeing's T1 was completed late 2014. The entire timeframe between 2011-14 had shifting requirements. Then 2016 saw the latest change to CBARS. Shifts since 2014 when the hardware was built suggest the eventual MQ-25 will have significant differences, if only under the skin, because it was built to some earlier iteration of the "wishlist" between 2010-2014. The fact they only recently flew it suggests it was "obsolete" to requirements before it was finished even in 2014 -- and that was before the big shift to tanking.



posted on Oct, 9 2019 @ 01:51 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert
Yeah i got confused about the timeline and thought they already switched CBARS with the contract awards in 14. My bad.

But what i was alluding to - i still think it's odd how they went from Phantom Ray to an entirely different, arguably less advanced design. At that point UCLASS was still likley to go in an entirely different direction and Phantom Ray had more than a decade of development under it's belt. Why toss it out to build something else from scratch within allegedly three years?
But maybe they didn't start really from scratch and repurposed a concept from another program instead. Something that wasn't publicized and was toyed with post say J-UCAS in the realms of say Avenger and Sentinel?



posted on Oct, 9 2019 @ 09:06 PM
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Real hard to get a heavy flying wing on board a carrier. That's probably the bottom line. Launching without tail surfaces might be exciting, too. J-UCAS died in 06 , so the X-45 and X-47 were orphaned. The Navy opted to go with NG for their UCAS program. There may have been something about the handling characteristics that weren't encouraging, or Boeing didn't think it matched well/best with whatever the UCLASS requirements were at a given moment. Or that it would require more development time/cost. Or some combination of those.

Once the signature requirements were significantly eased, it effectively killed the flying wing bids anyway.

The interesting bit to me is that Boeing either spent their own money early, or used the post PDR money to build hardware. Makes me wonder if there aren't three other PDR airframes out there collecting dust.



posted on Oct, 9 2019 @ 11:27 PM
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originally posted by: RadioRobert
Real hard to get a heavy flying wing on board a carrier. That's probably the bottom line. Launching without tail surfaces might be exciting, too. J-UCAS died in 06 , so the X-45 and X-47 were orphaned. The Navy opted to go with NG for their UCAS program. There may have been something about the handling characteristics that weren't encouraging, or Boeing didn't think it matched well/best with whatever the UCLASS requirements were at a given moment. Or that it would require more development time/cost. Or some combination of those.


They were prepared to put the X-45N on a carrier. They were exited enough about their UAV concept to develop Phantom Ray on their own.
Of course it isnt easy to fly a wing of a carrier but Northrop was prepared to do it for UCLASS, as was Lockheed.
It makes very little sense for Boeing to say screw it, we're going with a clean sheet design of what basically amounts to a less capable Avenger.
Sure, it worked out for them in the end thanks to the stupidity of the Navy, but there was not way for them to know that back in 2010/2011.


The interesting bit to me is that Boeing either spent their own money early, or used the post PDR money to build hardware. Makes me wonder if there aren't three other PDR airframes out there collecting dust.

They probably did what Northrop did: Repurpose existing vehicles
aviationweek.com...

Northrop, Lockheed and General Atomics went into this with flight proven designs. But Boeing decided to switch to an allegedly entirely new design while blowing company funds to develop their existing vehicle inhouse. Makes sense.



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