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UCLASS program needs bigger aircraft

Jan. 10, 2014

To paraphrase a famous line from “Jaws,” the Navy’s gonna need a bigger jet.

The Navy’s unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike program (UCLASS) “has evolved to call for a jet that is much larger and much more capable than what was envisioned just six months ago,” according to a report in USNI News.

The plane now needed would be in the 70,000- to 80,000-pound range, according to Rear Adm. Mike Manazir, quoted in the article.

The Navy is about to release long-delayed draft requirements to industry.

Originally, the plan was for the unmanned craft to provide some basic ISR work, Manazir said in the article. “[W]e’re more than that now. We have heavy-end ISR and strike capability with some growth in the ability to carry weapons and some growth in the sensor package.”

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