The US Navy released its draft request for proposals for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) on April 17.
The draft RFP has been sent to Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, Boeing and Lockheed Martin for comment and feedback prior to a final RFP which is due to be released by the end of the year.
“The Navy released a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) air segment, April 17, to the four prime contractors currently under contract to conduct Preliminary Design Review (PDR) assessments for the program,” Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) spokeswoman Jamie Cosgrove told USNI.
“The purpose of the draft RFP is to solicit industry to design, develop, assemble, deliver, test and integrate the air segment into the UCLASS system.”
Despite reports as recent as early April suggesting the draft RFP would be released as a classified document, it has instead been released as ‘Official use Only’, perhaps suggesting that many of the high end capabilities such as deep strike and persistent ISR previously mooted for the UCLASS may not be a requirement.
The US Navy hopes to field the UCLASS in limited operational numbers as soon as 2020.
For more information on the UCLASS program, see the article in Australian Aviation’s May 2014 issue.