Navy gets wheels in motion to start official competition to build carrier-based combat UAV

PATUXENT RIVER NAS Md., 15 April 2014. Four U.S. designers of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are set to square-off in a do-or-die competition to build the first deployable carrier-based combat UAV. U.S. Navy officials have signaled the imminent release of a soliciation to design the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Staton, Md., have released a presolicitation (N00019-14-R-0029) that announces plans to release an initial draft solicitation, and subsequently a final solicitation for the UCLASS aircraft.

The upcoming competition will be limited to four of the nation's leading UAV designers -- the Boeing Co. Defense, Space & Security segment in St. Louis; the Lockheed Martin Corp. Skunk Works in Palmdale, Calif.; General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. in Poway, Calif.; and the Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Systems segment in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Related: Navy edges closer to choosing a contractor to build next-generation carrier-based UAV

All four companies have built prototypes of unmanned combat aircraft. Boeing has the X-45N; Lockheed Martin has a variant of its RQ-170 Sentinel; General Atomics has the Avenger; and Northrop Grumman has its carrier-proven X-47B. The formal UCLASS solicitation will be issued only to these companies.

The Navy's UCLASS aircraft will provide a persistent, aircraft carrier-based intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, targeting, and strike capability to support carrier air wing operations, Navy officials say.

(story continues below)

In addition to the aircraft, the UCLASS program involves a control system and connectivity segment and a carrier segment. The government will function as lead system integrator for the UCLASS system.

The UCLASS program will make the most of existing technology to launch and control the unmanned carrier-based aircraft, transfer data, and support persistent surveillance and precision strike operations, Navy officials say.

Related: Navy UCLASS program to develop carried-based unmanned aircraft with surveillance and strike capability by 2018

Plans now call for release of the formal UCLASS request for proposal (RFP) no later than this fall, and contract award in the last half of 2015.

For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works at, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems at, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

Custom and OEM Camera Design

We provide custom designs for both modifications to existing systems and development of new produ...

Latching Micro-D Connectors

Omnetics high reliability Micro-D connectors are available with Quick Latch System. For applicati...

Nano-D BiLobe® Connectors -(COTS)

Sizes are 9, 15, 21, 25, 31, 37 , 51 & 65 pin, at .025 Mil. Pitch(Currently Available), mating pi...

Hybrid Micro-D Connectors

Omnetics high reliability Micro-D connectors are available withmixed power/signal contact layouts...

Micro-D Connectors

Highly rugged and compact designs in shell styles from 9 to 51 contacts. The Micro-D connectors i...

Omnetics Nano-D Bi-Lobe® Latching Connectors

Bi-Lobe® connectors utilize rugged and reliable flex pin contact system. Spaced on 25 mil (.64mm)...

Nano-D Bi-Lobes® Connectors Dual Row Horizontal SMT (Type AA)

Horizontal SMT Bi-Lobe® nanos offer an extremely low profile package that is well suited to pick ...

XPedite7575 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7575 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

XTend7103 | COM Express® Carrier for COM Express® Type 10 Mezzanine Modules

The XTend7103 is a COM Express® carrier card designed to provide a low-cost and compact platform ...

XPort6173 | 3U VPX Carrier for Two 2.5 in. Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

The XPort6173 supports two, standard, 2.5 in. Solid-State Drives (SSDs) in a single 0.8 in. or 1....

Related Companies

Southwest Antennas

Designs and manufactures high-performance RF and Microwave antennas and accessories designed for today’s communicatio...

Interface Displays & Controls Inc

Certified ISO-9001/AS9100, veteran-owned, small business. Interface specializes in designing, reverse-engineering and...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

GE Aviation Systems

Designs and manufactures high reliability microelectronics for aerospace and military applications. Thick film hybrid...

Astronics Ballard Technology

Manufactures avionics databus interfaces, embedded computers, and software for aerospace, military and commercial use...


Manufactures a large range of underwater electrical and fiber optic connectors. In business for 45 years.

Henniker Plasma

Plasma Treatment Equipment - Plasma Cleaners, Plasma Etchers, Plasma Coating & Plasma Surface ModificationWe are the ...

Fabritech Inc

Fabritech was established in 1986 and specializes in the fabrication of EMI, RFI, and thermal shielded products made ...

NOVA Power Solutions Inc

Provides mission-critical rugged uninterruptable power supplies (UPS), power conditioners, and battery backup modules...


The Intel Xeon-D processor and its role in high-performance embedded computing (HPEC)

The rugged Intel Xeon-D server-class multicore microprocessor is set to revolutionize high-performance embedded computing. By itself, the processor will bring unprecedented power to embedded computing applic...

Harsh Environment Protection for Advanced Electronics and Components

This webinar will offer an opportunity to learn more about ultra-thin Parylene conformal coatings – how they are applied, applications they protect today, and the properties and benefits they offer, includin...

Press Releases


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has received a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply its small form factor ...

Innovative Integration Announces the FMC-Servo

Camarillo, CA June 19, 2015, Innovative Integration, a trusted supplier of signal processing and data acquisition hardware and software solutions, today announced the FMC-S...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has further enhanced its innovative VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) w...

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles