US Navy Continues to Wrangle With UCLASS Needs


After years of discussion, the U.S. Navy has still not finalized its requirements for its much-desired Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (Uclass) platform.

Navy officials have not yet fully hammered out the requirements for the system. There has been an ongoing debate in the Pentagon about which attributes – such as survivability and endurance –to emphasize in the RFP. Some senior officials favor balancing the two, while others are eyeing more endurance. This decision will drive the attributes of the air vehicle. A vehicle designed for endurance may carry less payload and be less maneuverable or stealthy. One optimized for survivability would have a reduced radar cross section and might be more agile or carry more self defenses.

UCLASS follows on the heels of the Northrop Grumman-led X-47B Unmanned Combat Air system demonstration program. Under that effort, Navy officials are validating the ability to operate stealthy, tailless UAS on and around an aircraft carrier.

Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Atomics are all expected to compete for the UCLASS work.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Ares?

Aviation Week editors blog their personal views on the defense industry.

A Century of Aviation Week

Aviation Week & Space Technology is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 26, 2016

When Aviation Week Was Accused of Treason -- The Back Story Revealed 8

A 1957 revelation that the U.S. was tracking Soviet missile launches from a secret radar in Turkey has its roots in sleuthing of students from Kettering Grammar School in the UK....More
Aug 23, 2016

When Aviation Week Was Accused Of Treason 23

Aviation Week editors routinely get blowback when they write about sensitive topics, and the best example of that may be an October 1957 story that revealed the U.S. had been tracking Russian missile launches from advanced long-range radar units in Turkey....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×