The mission of the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) is to mature technologies for a carrier (CV) suitable unmanned air system (UAS), while reducing risk for UAS carrier integration and developing the critical data necessary to support potential follow-on acquisition programs.
In the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Navy was directed to restructure the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) program and develop an unmanned, longer- range carrier-based aircraft capable of being air-refueled to provide greater aircraft carrier standoff capability, to expand payload and launch options, and to increase naval reach and persistence.
The Navy UCAS program will develop and demonstrate a CV suitable unmanned air system in support of persistent, penetrating surveillance, and penetrating strike capability in high threat areas. The Navy UCAS program will evolve technologies required to conduct Launch, Recovery, and Carrier Controlled Airspace (CCA) operations and Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) . In FY13, the Navy plans to achieve UCAS CV demonstration objectives. In FY14, the Navy plans to achieve probe & drogue (USN style) and boom/receptacle (USAF style) AAR demonstration.
The X-47B made a successful first flight in February 2011 and is now at NAS Patuxent River, Md., undergoing shore-based carrier suitability testing in preparation for sea trials in 2013.
Overall Length: 38.2 feet
Wingspan: 62.1 Feet
Height: 10.4 feet
Aircraft Carrier Takeoff Gross Weight: approximately 44,500 pounds
Speed: High subsonic
Power Plant: one Pratt & Whitney F100-220U engine
Payload Provisions: 4500 pounds, plus allowance for electro-optical, infrared, radar and electronic support measures sensors
Autonomous Aerial Refueling Provisions: US Navy and US Air Force styles
Contractor: Northrop Grumman Corporation
ACAT: Pre-Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP)
Production Phase: Demo