“We’re pleased with this first-stage award and remain committed to providing the Navy with timely delivery of a robust, affordable, and versatile aircraft carrier-based UAS that delivers superior ISR and strike capabilities satisfying the Navy’s future needs,” says Frank Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.
GA-ASI personnel, under the UCLASS study contract, will deliver an open, adaptive architecture and disciplined systems engineering approach to identify and assess potential trade space. GA-ASI officials intend, at the same time, to capitalize on the study and parallel engineering assessments to develop an affordable, low-risk, high-technology system.
The UCLASS program will leverage existing, deployed Department of Defense (DOD) systems to launch, recover, and control the UAS, as well as to transfer UAS data in support of persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations and time-critical strike.
The eight-month study contract, awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), calls for: development of a Concept of Operations (CONOPS); analysis of alternative activities and of the relative maturity and near-term availability of UCLASS-relevant technologies; and identifying ways to shorten key development, test, and certification timelines.