The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator is paving the way for the proposed Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike aircraft. (Navy)
The Navy has awarded four preliminary design review contracts for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft. The nine-month contracts, each worth $15 million, were awarded to Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, according to Naval Air Systems Command.
“The PDRs are intended to inform the Navy of technical risk, cost and design maturity of the air segment,” said UCLASS program manager Charlie Nava. In addition to persistent intelligence, surveillance reconnaissance and targeting capabilities, the UCLASS will have a strike range of 2,000 miles.
UCLASS is intended to be the first deployed carrier-based unmanned air system.
The preliminary design review contract awards come after the X-47B, the Navy’s unmanned combat air system demonstrator, successfully completed a catapult launch in May and an arrested landing on the carrier George H.W. Bush in July.