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Navy UCAV testing and selection

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posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 11:25 AM
Well in my continued approach to trying to create threads that can be used in an effort to keep all info etc together. I figured that with new info out and a renewed effort to create a UCAV for the US Navy that its due time to have one (so ch1466 can fill us in jks).

Anyways Aviation Week has just put out a nice article on the selection process and Boeing and Northrop Grumman's process of dusting off their earlier X-45 and X-47 designs for the Navy's recent request for proposals (RFP). They even cover alot of ground in specs etc.


Range for the 62 X 60-ft. demonstrator is about 2,800 naut. mi. for 7 hr. of flight time. Winship says the outer limit of endurance with refueling is not yet known, though inspection requirements could cap missions at about 50 hr.

The Navy doesn't require an internal weapons bay for UCAS-D, but Northrop Grumman says its demonstrators will be able to stow two 2,000-lb. weapons or twelve 250-lb. Small Diameter Bombs in its bay.

The last quotes first line is interesting in that it says the Navy havent said they want the weapon stores to be internal. Which to me is weird if the want to create a UCAV that can be on par with other USAF planes in a warzone.

Boeing declined to discuss its X-45C-based proposal called X-45N, but Darryl Davis, vice president and general manager of Boeing Advanced Precision Engagement and Mobility Systems, says it is working from "64 mishap-free, unmanned combat flights with its X-45A."

Proposals are due Apr. 2 for UCAS-D, a program valued at slightly more than $1 billion over about seven years. A winner will be announced in June, according to Navy officials.

So I guess the companies have to have there papers in today and we will have to wait till June to get offical annoucements about the winner to go to testing. I guess questions wise and what I see as the needed discussion is the feasibility of a Carrier UAV and the challenging enviorment and trying to narrow down the role. They mention internal stores but then back track by saying that this is more just geared towards testing and recon.

Thanks in advance for great info I know you guys can give into trying to understand this program and creating a resource for this info on ATS. (in other words feel free to spill your info ch1466


[edit on 22/08/06 by Canada_EH]

posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 04:47 PM
With your first point I think it’s more to do with the fact that the UCAS-D programme won’t demonstrate an actual combat capability but rather focus on areas to do with operating an unmanned fast jet in a naval/carrier environment. I very much doubt they mean they’re looking at external rather than internal carriage though as an option that wouldn’t be such a bad idea considering it’s highly likely that UCAVs will eventually be operating in uncontested airspace just as other fighters/bombers have done in the past.

posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 07:16 PM
X-45...That originally had no plans of being on a carrier...
Is Booeing planning on changing its original designs to make it a viable carrier UCAV?

Northrop Grumman has the edge...since their X-47 was designed for a carrier from the get go.
Is each company just building 2 each?

posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 07:24 PM

Originally posted by Murcielago
X-45...That originally had no plans of being on a carrier...
Is Booeing planning on changing its original designs to make it a viable carrier UCAV?

Northrop Grumman has the edge...since their X-47 was designed for a carrier from the get go.
Is each company just building 2 each?

Boeing declined to discuss its X-45C-based proposal called X-45N, but Darryl Davis, vice president and general manager of Boeing Advanced Precision Engagement and Mobility Systems, says it is working from "64 mishap-free, unmanned combat flights with its X-45A."

From thats quote it very much sounds like Boeing is redesigning the 45 to perform some sort of role or testing for the carrier purposal. The next quote I think gives the idea of where thenavy plans to head with these submisisons. Oh and it does sounds like each company is just revamping their current design. Boeing the X-45 and Northrup the X-47 so only one each.

The Navy remained focused on developing an armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to operate from its aircraft carrier fleet.

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 02:52 PM
Well some how though not surprising this thread slipped through the crack and now with the release on a substantial article from flight global on the navy N-UCAS program its time for a update.

At this point the Northrop bide (X-47) is the winner of the contract with the other competitor being Boeing with the X-45. The normal details are as follows.

Northrop was awarded the six-year, $636 million UCAS-D contract in August 2007 after its X-47B was selected over Boeing's X-45N. The first of two demonstrators is scheduled to fly in November 2009, and the first carrier landing is planned for 2011.

So as it stands it looks like a slow and thoughtful process over the next 5 years (ending 2013) to build and test the aircraft for the suitability to carrier operations and allowing the operations that have taken a hundred year to develop to remain more or less unchanged even through the addition of the UCAS. At this point if all goes well they are thinking of a number around 70 aircraft for carrier operations.

AV-1 is to be completed and ready for proof-load testing by mid-2008, beginning an extended period of ground testing leading up to a first flight in November 2009. "It's a pretty slow pace compared to what we could do," says Winship. Paced by funding, assembly of AV-2, the second demonstrator, will begin after AV-1 taxis. "We will use all of our 2008 funding for ship 1," he says.

For now props to the USN navy for pushing forward with the UCAS design and away from the generic role that the predator plays now with the military.

posted on Mar, 13 2008 @ 08:08 AM
More news on the UCAV front. Its been announced/leaked that the USN is looking to have a Combat ready squadron of UCAVs by 2025. These aircraft are geared towards replacement of the F-18's and it sorta makes you wonder why or how much focus the X47 test program needs to be getting. The current name of the program for replacement of the 18s is the F/A-XX program (thought this was what the F-35C was?).

The USN and NG have given some insight into the test schedule with the first demonstrator flight is set for November 2009, and carrier trials will be complete in late 2012. With this test schedule and focus the USN has more or less become the forefront for fielding and testing systems for combat drones (if it can land on a ship, it can land on a runway).

Deppe says the acquisition strategy for a follow-on to the demonstrator project will likely be ready in 2011. Though Deppe says he wants to have competing prototypes, the strategy does not call for new air vehicle designs.

The would-be competitors would simply need to demonstrate the technologies in an operationally relevant environment. The contractors could demonstrate their architectures using aircraft already cleared for carrier ops.

looking to clarify here. What or how is other companies going to demonstrate there designs? NG is going to be in a much better place for navy operations and a team designed to deal with navy issues then other companies due to NG's testing for these next 3-4 years.

posted on Mar, 13 2008 @ 09:11 AM
not ordering the F35C maybe?

posted on Mar, 13 2008 @ 10:45 PM

Originally posted by Harlequin
not ordering the F35C maybe?

You desperate maybe?

posted on Apr, 7 2008 @ 08:58 PM
Lockheed Martin
VTOL Advanced Reconnaissance Insertion Organic Unmanned System (VARIOUS)

VARIOUS will carry our tactical reconnaissance and fire support missions, armed with an ISR package, automatic guns and missiles. The aerial vehicle is designed to be stealthy, and cooperate with manned and unmanned aerial systems and surface ships while operating autonomously. The aircraft will have a wing span of 28.5 ft, 22' length is smaller than an F35 and will be capable of operating at long to medium range, carrying a multi-spectral ISR payload and about 450 lbs of internally carried ordnance to support ground operations (maximum payload will be 1,900lbs). The aircraft will operate at ceiling of up to 20,000', flying at a maximum speed of 350 knots.


does anyone have more info about this UCAV? do they have a flying prototype? how does this little bird compare against the X-45 and X-47?

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 07:53 AM
reply to post by toreishi

Thanks for the post toreishi. Its a interesting looking UCAV for sure that is designed from Lock Mart with designs rooted in the last 5 years of development. The Ability of VTOL and carrying around 2000 lbs. of ordnance is all based on a better power plant then the X-47 design it would seem and also the Various being a larger UCAV then the 47. Here is the info as I see it right now or is available.

Length: 22 ft
Wingspan: 28.5 ft
Weapon load: 1900 lbs.
Maximum speed: 350 knots
Range: 1,500+ NM
Service ceiling 20,000+ ft
Length: 19 ft 7 in
Wingspan: 19 ft 6 in
Weapon load: 1000 lbs.
Maximum speed: "high subsonic"
Range: 1,500+ NM
Service ceiling 40,000+ ft

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 08:03 AM
These figures are from NG's official page one the X-47B.


40,000+ ft (12 km)

Combat Radius:
1,500+ nm ISR

4,500 lb (2,045 kg) Internal

3,500+ nm

High Subsonic


I've seen these figures echoed elsewhere with regards to weapons payload and half a ton seems severely limited, I doubt that's accurate for two weapons bays. It's also interesting that the official info mentions "Internal" specifically, is there a possibly of the X-47B carrying external stores and armament?

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 12:32 PM
more info on the X-45

Specifications (X-45A)
General characteristics

* Crew: 0
* Length: 26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)
* Wingspan: 33 ft 10 in (10.3 m)
* Height: 6 ft 8 in (2.14 m)
* Empty weight: 8,000 lb (3,630 kg)
* Gross weight: 12,190 lb (5,528 kg)


* Range: 375 miles (600 km)

its from wiki so reader discretion is advised. i'm having a li'l bit of a prob making sense of this though:

The X-45C has a larger payload performance (2,041kg), persistence and range envelope than the X-45B.


especially when it says here that the payload for the X-45B is 2,041kg. so what's the difference?

oh and thanks to Canada_EH and WestPoint23 for further contributing to my ongoing quest for enlightenment.

[edit on 4.8.08 by toreishi]

posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 08:59 AM
More news on the UCAS-D program. From the sounds of things sources are warning that budget planing and constraints are moving in on the project. And is now threatening future unmanned, stealthy aircraft operating from its aircraft carriers. More below:

The USN launched the six-year UCAS-D programme last August, but CSBA analysts think the odds that navy officials will cancel the effort in next year’s budget are “more than 50:50”, says senior fellow Tom Ehrhard. Opposition comes principally from active duty naval aviators, he says, while the service’s aviation budget also faces pressure from new manned aircraft programmes.....
Two UCAS-Ds are now in manufacturing, with the first of these 65% complete and scheduled to fly at Edwards AFB, California in late 2009. The programme is expected to be the precursor for a next-generation combat aircraft called the navy-unmanned combat air system (N-UCAS).

The date at this point is july 2 for a review into the project at this time. The program will be looking for almost $276 million for the UCAS-D project from the navy. This would bring its total requested funding for the FY2007-13 period to roughly $1.5 billion. In my opinion its worth it and the fighter and navy fliers don't have to worry just yet about losing their jobs. So no harm to the pilots role for the time being so lets see it happen.

[edit on 23-6-2008 by Canada_EH]

posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 09:22 AM
reply to post by Canada_EH

thanks for the updates

fantastic as usual

posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 09:29 AM
Hi canada_EH,
here is a little Pdf file about how the funding for the unmanned naval variant was to be stretched out.

You may already know this / have this file, but i thought i'd add it just to be sure.


UCAV Funding Pdf

posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 10:01 AM
Sorry for another post but I thought you would really want to have a good read through this next Pdf.

It is all about why the Navy need the UCAS, and really hammers home the point about a certain lacking of abilities of the carrier air wing.

This pick below is one reason they say the navy can ill afford not to have a stealthy attack platform.

Heres the full 2 Mb Pdf file. Well worth a mulling over.

US Navy needs UCAS

Its from the 16th of June 2008.... Dan.

posted on Jul, 24 2008 @ 03:54 PM
My My what a slow thread

Anyways more news today on the selection of the P&W F100-PW-220U engine will power the UCAS-D. Another step forward for the program which is a good thing though I'm sure that there are those with mixed feeling with P&W wining this contract. Anyways here is the news release.

link: 000aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default

FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW, July 14, 2008 – Northrop Grumman has awarded Pratt & Whitney a $54 million contract to develop and integrate the engine and exhaust system for the U.S. Navy’s X-47 Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) air vehicle. The Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220U engine will power the UCAS-D, providing up to 16,000 pounds of thrust while operating in a maritime environment, including carrier deck operations. Pratt and Whitney, is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.

“Pratt & Whitney is excited to be working with Northrop Grumman and the X-47 team on this transformational Navy project,” said Jimmy Reed, director, Advanced Engine Programs. “The X-47 program is intended to demonstrate that an unmanned, survivable air vehicle can operate safely in the carrier environment.”

Also of note the dates given for X-47B first flight still is scheduled for 2009, with at-sea aircraft carrier trials scheduled in 2011.

Also have time for one more picture I think

posted on Jul, 25 2008 @ 01:36 AM
The internal opposition to this project stuns me. Ryan already ran RPV missions off the deck of the Ranger without interfering with the manned combat missions. That was the Navy's argument then, and now it's resurfacing. I don't understand this at all.

[edit on 25-7-2008 by _Del_]

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