F-35 and X-47B

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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Unread post28 May 2017, 17:51

US Navy previews MQ-25 solicitations
26 May 2017 Leigh Giangreco

"The US Navy is taking one of the final steps before sending out a request for proposals for its unmanned carrier-based tanker programme, with the release of a notice informing the industry that the competition for the MQ-25 development contract will be limited to four companies.

Naval Air Systems (NAVAIR) Command intends to issue the solicitation for engineering, manufacturing and development to Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, according to a 26 May notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website. NAVAIR also intends to release a solicitation to those companies for an accompanying contract for studies and analysis supporting the MQ-25 EMD [Engineering & Manufacturing Development] programme....

...MQ-25 Stingray programme, focusing on a carrier-based airborne refueling system (CBARS). The UAV will not penetrate into defended airspace and attack targets, but the navy is planning a surveillance mission with a 19-23in-diameter forward looking infrared sensor turret...."

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ns-437671/
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Unread post13 Jun 2017, 04:49

Navy Has Picked the First Two Carriers to Fly MQ-25A Stingray Unmanned Aerial Refueling Tankers
12 Jun 2017 Sam LaGrone

"USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) will be the first two carriers to field the Navy’s MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial refueling tanker, a spokesperson told USNI News.

The two carriers will receive upgrades to include the control stations and data links needed to control the tanker, Naval Air Systems Command spokeswoman Jamie Cosgrove told USNI News. Bush was the first carrier to have an unmanned aerial vehicle to perform an arrested landing on its flight deck in 2013 in a test of the Northrop Grumman X-47B UAV.

It’s unclear when the Norfolk-based carriers will be upgraded, but several sources have told USNI News that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson intends to accelerate the deployment of the Stingray and get it on carrier decks as early as 2019.

The aircraft is in high-demand because it would help alleviate the burden on the carrier air wing’s current refueling aircraft: the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Anywhere from 25 to 30 percent of Super Hornet sorties are used for refueling missions, USNI News has previously reported.

A Navy spokesperson told USNI News on Monday the program was “too pre-decisional” to comment on the operational introduction of the MQ-25A tanker. Service leaders have said they wanted the capability by 2020.... [LOT MORE AT URL]

...Through the churn of the requirements for the air segment, the Navy has not outlined its next steps for unmanned carrier aviation beyond the limited goals for the MQ-25A.

However, the UCLASS control system will be able to quickly add new aircraft to capable carriers, USNI News understands."

Source: https://news.usni.org/2017/06/12/navy-h ... ng-tankers
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Unread post15 Jun 2017, 01:44

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Unread post28 Jun 2017, 08:11

House Armed Services Committee Interested In Unmanned Aviation, Shipyard Readiness, Pacific Operations
27 Jun 2017 Megan Eckstein

"...Aviation Policy
The bill makes several notes about unmanned aerial systems, particularly the Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray. Specifically, the bill calls into question the capabilities gap the MQ-25 seeks to fill. The bill fences of some of the program’s funding in 2018 until “the Secretary of the Navy certifies that the MQ- 25 meets a validated capability gap; the Chief of Naval Operations has reviewed and approved the initial capabilities document (ICD) and the capability development document (CDD); and the ICD and CDD have been submitted to the congressional defense committees.”

“This section would also require the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition to submit a report to the congressional defense committees that includes key performance parameters, certification of performance parameters’ achievement, as well as a description of requirements with respect to fuel transfer, equipment for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, electronic attack and electronic protection, communications equipment, weapons payload, range, mission endurance for unrefueled and aerial refueled operations, affordability, survivability, and interoperability,” according to language in the bill.

Beyond simply awaiting more information from the Navy, the bill weighs in with the HASC’s opinion on the system’s mission set: specifically, that MQ-25 ought to include precision strike capabilities.

“The committee supports this unmanned air refueling capability and believes that it is critical that the Navy integrate an unmanned aerial vehicle into carrier aviation operations to increase the striking power of carrier air wings. However … the most recent documentation that was sent to industry did not include precision strike capability as a requirement. The committee believes that the Navy may be unnecessarily excluding a critical capability and precluding future growth in a platform that will likely be integrated into the carrier air wing for the next 30 years,” according to the bill...."

Source: https://news.usni.org/2017/06/27/house- ... operations
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Unread post03 Jul 2017, 13:57

Long article about General Atomics & their thingos including the potential Stingray contender - but not much - secret.
From Predator To Stingray, General Atomics Leads UAV Boom
29 Jun 2017 James Drew

"Predator to Stingray...
...A privately held company formed 25 years ago by Neal and Linden S. Blue, with now-retired founding President and CEO Tom Cassidy, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) is going up against the world’s largest defense contractors in a multibillion-dollar competition to develop a fighter-sized UAS capable of operating from an aircraft carrier at sea.

In keeping with its track record of staying ahead of requirements, GA-ASI has been preparing for this competition for years. Its privately developed Predator C Avenger jet-powered UAS has been flying since 2009. A development of the Avenger will compete against rival designs from Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray program—an aerial refueling and surveillance unmanned aircraft that will relieve overworked Boeing F/A-18E/F fighters of tanking duties....

...Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley says the MQ-25 “mission tanker” is the first carrier-based unmanned program for the Navy, designed to extend combat range of the air wing while freeing up precious flight hours on the F/A-18E/F. He anticipates the release of a final request for proposals this year, followed by a down-select to one vendor in 2018. More than $2.4 billion has been earmarked in the Navy’s latest budget plan through fiscal 2022 to start development.

Several years ago, under the Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) and Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (Uclass) programs, GA-ASI probably had no chance against industry titans Boeing, Lockheed and Northrop, which pursued large-scale, flying-wing aircraft including the Phantom Ray, RQ-170-like Sea Ghost and X-47B, respectively. These sleek-looking aircraft would make excellent deep-strike aircraft, but building “modular utility trucks,” such as mission tankers, is where GA-ASI believes it shines.

The Navy’s requirements shift from Uclass to the MQ-25 Carrier-Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) last year set the company up to be a prime contender. Although GA-ASI has little experience in aerial refueling, it specializes in long-range utility aircraft like the CBARS concept.

CEO Linden P. Blue and his father Neal, head of the parent organization General Atomics, emphasize that MQ-25 is a “huge priority,” alongside development of their next-generation, type-certifiable MQ-9B SkyGuardian.

“We’re pretty credible now after these seven years of dancing with the Navy,” Linden Blue says. “We’re trying to focus everybody on the MQ-25. [Our aircraft’s] size and shape is not hugely different [from] an Avenger, but it’s got to carry more gas and land on a carrier, so it is quite different in that sense.”

The Avenger has been adopted by at least one classified customer. The company’s foray into jet-powered, low-observable aircraft design was an attempt to lead the Air Force to the MQ-X, but the Avenger has since morphed on paper to meet the Navy’s requirements, first as the Sea Avenger and now a tanking and surveillance version....

...“There’s a lot of insight there,” says the company’s MQ-25 program director, Charles Wright. “They’ve learned a lot from carrier integration and we’ve benefited from that.”

The Navy’s draft requirements seek 12 hr. of endurance for tanking and observation missions. Wright expects to “meet or exceed” this metric with a single-engine, wing-body-tail Avenger-like aircraft with a moderate to high aspect ratio. For carrier operations, it will have high-strength landing gear and folding wings....

...The company considered five configurations of varied size, weight, power, aerodynamic shape and planform before settling on one. “It’s a wing-body-tail, because that’s the most efficient platform to haul a lot of fuel,” Wright says.

It will have a more powerful, yet efficient, turbofan engine compared to the Avenger’s 4,000-lb.-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545B. Low radar cross-section, and weaponization is not needed in this initial MQ-25A model.

Wright says the Navy has outlined a growth path to an “MQ-25B,” which will almost certainly have combat utility with weapons and a radar...."

Source: http://aviationweek.com/defense/predato ... s-uav-boom
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Unread post22 Jul 2017, 05:36

Navy Issues New MQ-25A Stingray Draft RFP to Industry Ahead of Final RFP in the Fall [Best Read at Source]
20 Jul 2017 Sam LaGrone

"The Navy issued its latest draft request for proposals for what will be the service’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle, U.S. Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Thursday.

The Wednesday draft RFP for the MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial refueling tanker will be the last refinement of the program requirements before the final RFP goes out to four industry competitors in the fall, Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, Program Executive Officer Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons, told USNI News on Thursday.

“What we’re looking for is.. our big next step in getting unmanned [aircraft] in the carrier air wing environment. The intent of this system is to extend the striking capability of the carrier air wing through organic tanking capability,” Darrah said. “We want to make better use of our combat strike fighters and extend the range of the carrier air wing, and that’s what this system is intended to do. That’s its primary mission.”...

...the MQ-25A effort only has two key performance parameters (KPP) for industry to adhere to in their crafting of the airframe for the MQ-25A.

“In the NDAA 2017 language, the services were given the authority to designate one program as a pilot to reduce the number of key performance parameters that would be in our requirements documents,” Darrah said.
“We have requested from OSD that permission in accordance with that language, and this program was selected, and we have two KPPs.”

According to MQ-25A program manager Capt. Beau Duarte those are:

Carrier suitability. The system needs to be able to operate off of the aircraft carrier and integrate with all of the subsystems of the carrier. That’s catapults, that’s existing launch and recovery equipment,” he told USNI News on Thursday.

Mission tanking. Sea-based tanker is the second KPP. It needs to be able to deliver a robust fuel offload at range to support an extension of the air wing and add flexibility of what’s available from a mission tanking perspective. There are a number of key system attributes or other requirements lower than that that are subsequent to [those] and are of lower importance and that will allow us to focus on those two key areas on tanking and carrier suitability and let those be the primary design drivers. “

Both Duarte and Darrah were reluctant to outline more specifics on the effort other than to say the bids have to use existing aerial refueling systems already in the fleet. “We are saying that you do have to use the existing aerial refueling store that F/A-18s [and] S-3s have used – and that’s externally carried – and that’s to reduce development, cost and timeline and risk,” Duarte said. “But how you configure the air vehicle to deliver that fuel is up to industry.”...

...As to when the MQ-25A will be operational, Darrah said the program was aiming for the 2020s. However, officials have said that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson is pushing to have a real-world unmanned aircraft fly off a carrier as early as 2019.

The imperative is to alleviate the strain on the strike fighter fleet currently tasked with refueling the carrier air wing. The Navy estimates 20 to 30 percent of Super Hornet flight hours are used for tanking. To support that effort, the Office of the Secretary of Defense directed the service to reshape the craft in early 2016 from an off-cycle intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform with a light strike capability to into a refueling tanker."

Graphic:"Boeing image of the company’s MQ-25A Stingray bid. USNI News Photo" https://news.usni.org/wp-content/upload ... G_1788.jpg


Source: https://news.usni.org/2017/07/20/navy-i ... more-26935
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Unread post22 Jul 2017, 06:52

spazsinbad wrote:
Navy Issues New MQ-25A Stingray Draft RFP to Industry Ahead of Final RFP in the Fall [Best Read at Source]
20 Jul 2017 Sam LaGrone

"The Navy issued its latest draft request for proposals for what will be the service’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle, U.S. Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Thursday.

The Wednesday draft RFP for the MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial refueling tanker will be the last refinement of the program requirements before the final RFP goes out to four industry competitors in the fall, Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, Program Executive Officer Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons, told USNI News on Thursday.

“What we’re looking for is.. our big next step in getting unmanned [aircraft] in the carrier air wing environment. The intent of this system is to extend the striking capability of the carrier air wing through organic tanking capability,” Darrah said. “We want to make better use of our combat strike fighters and extend the range of the carrier air wing, and that’s what this system is intended to do. That’s its primary mission.”...

...the MQ-25A effort only has two key performance parameters (KPP) for industry to adhere to in their crafting of the airframe for the MQ-25A.

“In the NDAA 2017 language, the services were given the authority to designate one program as a pilot to reduce the number of key performance parameters that would be in our requirements documents,” Darrah said.
“We have requested from OSD that permission in accordance with that language, and this program was selected, and we have two KPPs.”

According to MQ-25A program manager Capt. Beau Duarte those are:

Carrier suitability. The system needs to be able to operate off of the aircraft carrier and integrate with all of the subsystems of the carrier. That’s catapults, that’s existing launch and recovery equipment,” he told USNI News on Thursday.

Mission tanking. Sea-based tanker is the second KPP. It needs to be able to deliver a robust fuel offload at range to support an extension of the air wing and add flexibility of what’s available from a mission tanking perspective. There are a number of key system attributes or other requirements lower than that that are subsequent to [those] and are of lower importance and that will allow us to focus on those two key areas on tanking and carrier suitability and let those be the primary design drivers. “

Both Duarte and Darrah were reluctant to outline more specifics on the effort other than to say the bids have to use existing aerial refueling systems already in the fleet. “We are saying that you do have to use the existing aerial refueling store that F/A-18s [and] S-3s have used – and that’s externally carried – and that’s to reduce development, cost and timeline and risk,” Duarte said. “But how you configure the air vehicle to deliver that fuel is up to industry.”...

...As to when the MQ-25A will be operational, Darrah said the program was aiming for the 2020s. However, officials have said that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson is pushing to have a real-world unmanned aircraft fly off a carrier as early as 2019.

The imperative is to alleviate the strain on the strike fighter fleet currently tasked with refueling the carrier air wing. The Navy estimates 20 to 30 percent of Super Hornet flight hours are used for tanking. To support that effort, the Office of the Secretary of Defense directed the service to reshape the craft in early 2016 from an off-cycle intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform with a light strike capability to into a refueling tanker."



Source: https://news.usni.org/2017/07/20/navy-i ... more-26935



....think QS-3....4,382 US gal. or 29,797 lbs. of fuel with lesser development.....
..plus it would establish the "Q" infrastructure on the carrier for the follow-on MQ-25, etc.
:wink:
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Unread post03 Aug 2017, 05:15

FaceFook gotta luv it - NOT but anyways a snippet of info about the CONTROL ROOM perhaps for the STINGRAY onboard.
MQ-25 Control Room MD-5 UMCS Demo
31 Jul 2017 NavAir USN

"The Unmanned Carrier Aviation program office (PMA-268) and AIR-5.4 personnel collaborate during an MQ-25 program demonstration for Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson July 19 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

The demo represented how the mission control system located aboard the aircraft carrier will control and transmit information to an unmanned air vehicle in the future and validated the first build of the MD-5 UMCS, a combined hardware and software product, using representative shipboard equipment and a simulated air vehicle."

Source: https://www.facebook.com/NAVAIR/photos/ ... 91/?type=3
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Unread post13 Aug 2017, 16:10

aviationweek.com/awindefense/modified-x-47b-breaks-cover-testbed-mq-25-bid

Modified X-47B Breaks Cover As Testbed For MQ-25 Bid

Aug 12, 2017
Guy Norris

LOS ANGELES—Northrop Grumman is using an X-47B unmanned air vehicle (UAV) as a flying testbed for air refueling systems in support of its proposal for the U.S. Navy’s upcoming MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial refueling tanker contest. First details of Northrop Grumman’s preparations for the MQ-25A bid have emerged in photographs obtained by Aviation Week of a modified X-47B at the U.S. Air Force’s Plant 42 facility in Palmdale, Calif. The photos appear to show the UAV configured with a wing air refueling pod (WARP) under the left wing and a drop fuel tank under the right wing. The aircraft also displays an aerial refueling probe over the right wing, which indicates this particular vehicle is likely AV-2/502, the second of two X-47Bs that flew in the Navy’s unmanned carrier air system demonstration (UCAS-D) program that wrapped up in 2015. Though details are difficult to discern through the heat haze, the WARP appears similar to the Cobham 34” (inch) series which operates over an air speed range of 200 to 325 knots. The power for the system, which can transfer fuel at 400 US gal/min, is provided by a ram-air turbine, which is clearly visible on the nose of the WARP. The pod under the right wing is thought to be a standard auxiliary fuel tank similar to the 330-gallon FPU-8 or 480-gallon FPU-11 drop tanks used by the F/A-18 Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet respectively. One photo also shows what appears to be an open access panel or possible housing for an electro-optical/IR sensor set in the upper fuselage above the centrally located engine inlet. Little has been seen or heard about the X-47Bs—dubbed "Salty Dogs" by the Navy—since their departure from Naval Air Systems Command’s Patuxent Rover, Md., facility back to Palmdale in January and February this year. The aircraft had been in storage since the end of the UCAS-D program, facing an uncertain future when Northrop took them back with the intention of using the assets as flying testbeds for future development programs. The appearance of the modified X-47B comes as the Navy prepares to issue a formal request for proposals (RFP) later this year for the MQ-25A, the service’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle. The call for proposals follows a draft RFP issued in June for a planned engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract award in 2018. The request, which is targeting the ability of UAV tankers to extend the range of carrier air wings from as early as 2019-2020, was sent directly to Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman was contacted for a response to the emergence of these images but declined to comment.
:)
Last edited by neptune on 13 Aug 2017, 16:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post13 Aug 2017, 16:23

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Unread post13 Aug 2017, 16:41

Never gonna happen. Would make way, WAY too much sense.
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Unread post13 Aug 2017, 16:42

neptune wrote:..Modified X-47B Breaks Cover As Testbed For MQ-25 Bid
..Northrop Grumman is using an X-47B unmanned air vehicle (UAV).. :)


...one hopes NG will use common F-18/35 with parts/ systems for the MQ-25 with CNRP panels/ structures and the ISR (EODAS from the F-35), etc.
:D
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Unread post13 Aug 2017, 19:27

neptune wrote:
neptune wrote:..Modified X-47B Breaks Cover As Testbed For MQ-25 Bid
..Northrop Grumman is using an X-47B unmanned air vehicle (UAV).. :)


...one hopes NG will use common F-18/35 with parts/ systems for the MQ-25 with CNRP panels/ structures and the ISR (EODAS from the F-35), etc.
:D

Physically, Its the expensive parts like engines that commonality really saves money, especially on the carriers. Maybe the MQ-25 might work with a F414 variant but I'd suspect they'd keep the F100-PW-220U engine. Considering NG makes major sections of the F-35 and the F/A-18, It would be logical they'd use similar materials in the MQ-25.

If they can borrow software modules from either the F-35 or F/A-18XT (ASH) then that will save a lot in development costs.

BTW "Salty Dogs" is the squadron, VX-23, and not a nickname specific to X-47B as indicated in the article.
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Unread post13 Aug 2017, 21:47

neurotech wrote:Maybe the MQ-25 might work with a F414 variant but I'd suspect they'd keep the F100-PW-220U engine.


They could always swap it for an F110 variant, say, the F118 of the B-2, the USN has a history with those.
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Unread post13 Aug 2017, 22:33

'neurotech' you know reporters - instead of 'dubbed' he should have used 'callsign'. Search this thread for 'Salty' for answer:

viewtopic.php?f=55&t=20468&p=290968&hilit=Salty#p290968
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