United States of America
- Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
- Joint Unmanned Combat Air System
- Search and Rescue
- Synthetic Aperture Radar
- Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses
On August 18, 2004, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
awarded Northrop-Grumman a $1.04 billion other transaction for prototypes
agreement to continue work on the X-47B Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS)
The agreement funds the work to be done on the X-47B technology demonstrator
over the next five years. Under the terms of the new agreement Northrop-Grumman
will design, develop and demonstrate a minimum of three full-scale,
flight-worthy air vehicles and three mission control systems.
X-47B system produced under this effort will include integrated sensors,
communication, navigation equipment and low observability features, along with a
common operating system to meet the mission requirements established by the US
Air Force and US Navy. The target missions encompasses suppression of enemy air
defenses (SEAD), penetrating surveillance in denied enemy airspace, and
precision strike all operating whether from land or aircraft carrier bases.
The J-UCAS program objective at this point is to achieve an air vehicle with a
1,500 nautical miles (2,778 km) combat radius carrying a weapons payload of
4,500 pounds (2,000 kg), electronic warning system and an integrated synthetic
aperture radar (SAR). To do so, these air vehicles will be capable of surviving
in a high-threat environment while connected to a global network via beyond
Other characteristics of the X-47B/J-UCAS air combat vehicle are a large
internal weapons bay, well suited to support the full spectrum of existing and
future military operations, open and modular architecture facilitating future
growth, very stealthy airframe, and aerial refueling to provide persistent
coverage deep into enemy battlespace.
This effort will culminate in operational experimentation and an assessment that
will explore the X-47B capabilities in realistic mission scenario. The flight
demonstration phase will begin in 2007 at a West Coast site followed by catapult
launches and arrested landings planned to occur at Naval Air Warfare Center
Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland. Lockheed-Martin and Pratt & Whitney
are part of the Northrop-Grumman team.
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