The Boeing and Northrop-Grumman have unveiled their X-45C and X-47B full-scale
models respectively at Farnborough international air show, United Kingdom. The
X-45 and the X-47 are competing for the J-UCAS program, the promising US joint
services unmanned combat system.
J-UCAS is a joint program between the DARPA, the US Air Force and the US Navy
aimed at providing an unmanned combat airborne system suitable for land- and
sea-based operations. Boeing and Northrop-Grumman are competing for the J-UCAS
program. The J-UCAS performing suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD),
precision strike, electronic attack and durable ISR should enter service in 2010
Boeing's X-45C unmanned combat system is scheduled for assembly completion at
Saint Louis manufacturing facilities in 2006. The assembly process started in
June this year with the X-45C first flight planned for 2007. The
Northrop-Grumman's X-47B first flight according to current estimates will occur
The X-45C is 39-ft (11.89 meters) long, 49-ft (14.9 meters) wingspan and cruises
at 0.8 Mach. Its military payload will consists of up to eight Small Diameter
Bombs (SDB) or the full range of GPS-guided JDAM bombs. Both weapons are being
developed and produced by Boeing.
Recently, Boeing along with the partners demonstrated that combat aircraft such
as the F-15E Strike Eagle can effectively utilize UAVs in coordinated combat
operations. The software controlled UAV can perform a full range of tasks while
operating alongside other platforms. The Software Enabled Control (SEC)
technologies are being transitioned to J-UCAS program for future assessment.
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