US Navy issues BAA for carrier-borne UAS
By Richard Scott
The US Navy (USN) has taken the next step towards its ambitious goal of fielding a stealthy carrier-borne unmanned combat aircraft system by the end of this decade with the release of a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for its projected Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system.
The BAA, issued by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 28 March, is to support pre-Milestone A programme activities, including crafting an analysis of alternatives, developing the concept of operations and system requirements documents, and analysing potential material solutions to meet a goal for operational capability in the 2018 timeframe. Proposals are required no later than 29 April.
Plans for UCLASS were first revealed in March 2010 when the USN issued an initial request for information (RfI) for a carrier-based system providing persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike capabilities. This move came in response to a need identified by Vice Admiral David Dorsett, the deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance (N2/N6), to give carrier-based aviation a new degree of versatility in long-range combat operations.
Last year's RfI described a notional system that would include four to six air vehicles, each capable of flying for 11 to 14 hours from a nuclear-powered carrier (CVN) without refuelling, plus mission control interfaces (afloat and ashore), sensor payloads, weapon interfaces and personnel.222 of 663 words
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