Upcoming shore-based and carrier tests will help the Navy determine its acquisition strategy for the Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS), a large, carrier-based, next-generation drone with a 62-foot wingspan and high-tech sensors engineered to gather and send back images and data, service officials said.
“The UCAS will be the first deployed carrier based unmanned air vehicle with persistent ISR and a strike capability,” said Navy spokeswoman Jamie Cosgrove.
There are two related and interwoven trajectories with this UAS technology; the Navy is currently testing an early “demonstrator” model of the aircraft while simultaneously preparing to conduct a full and open competition have the UCAS ready to fly by 2018 to 2020, service officials explained.
At the same time, the demonstrator will inform the development of what will be the future UCAS program and next-generation technological capability, said Capt. Jamie Engdahl, X-47B program manager
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