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20 Jul 04. Boeing and Northrop Grumman briefed BATTLESPAQCE Editor Julian Nettlefold on their Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems proposals during Farnborough.

Northrop Grumman Corporation unveiled a full-scale model of its X-47B Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (JUCAS) vehicle during the opening of the Farnborough International 2004 air-show in the United Kingdom. The model will remain at Northrop Grumman’s outdoor static display throughout the air-show.

Officiating at the unveiling ceremony were Scott J. Seymour, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the company’s Integrated Systems sector; Dain Hancock, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., and Warren Bole, vice president of operational military engines for Pratt & Whitney. Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney are members of Northrop Grumman’s X-47B team.

“The X-47B, the future of unmanned combat air systems, will penetrate airspace high above the battlefield and remain on station for hours, denying sanctuary to enemy combatants,” Seymour said. “The members of our Northrop Grumman X-47B industry team are working all elements of the system’s design and development in concert, applying our long tradition of excellence in the integration of tactical aircraft, unmanned systems and advanced military aircraft engines.”


The Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program is a joint DARPA/Air Force/Navy effort to demonstrate the technical feasibility, military utility and operational value for a networked system of high performance, weaponized unmanned air vehicles to effectively and affordably prosecute 21st century combat missions, including Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD), surveillance, and precision strike within the emerging global command and control architecture.

J-UCAS Objective System (J-UOS)

The J-UCAS vision is to develop a weapon system that expands tactical mission options and provides revolutionary new air power and penetrating surveillance capability. The J-UCAS weapon system will exploit the design and operational flexibility of an uninhabited vehicle to enable a new paradigm in warfighting while maintaining the judgment and moral imperative of the human operator. The J-UCAS is designed for minimal maintenance to reduce cost. It will be capable of dynamic mission replanning with varying levels of autonomy. The J-UCAS has the potential to fully exploit the emerging information revolution and provide advanced airpower with increased tactical deterrence at a fraction of the total life cycle costs of current manned systems.

The J-UCAS weapon system will enable a new affordability paradigm by reducing both acquisition, and operation and support (O&S) costs. Removing the pilot from the vehicle eliminates man-rating requirements, pilot systems, and interfaces. New design philosophies can be used to optimize the design for aerodynamics, signature, reduced maintenance and low cost manufacturing processes. Advances in small smart munitions will allow these smaller vehicles to attack multiple targets during a single mission and reduce the cost per target killed, while minimizing the prospects for geolocation errors and fratricide. Improvements in sensor technologies also allow significant advances in surveillance and reconnaissance over high threat areas. The J-UCAS will be highly effective with a significant reduction in life cycle costs over current systems.

J-UCAS will use a Common Operating System to facilitate the integration of subsystems such as sensors, weapons, and communications while minimizing the impact from platform constraints. In addition, J-UCAS will have a system architecture that ensures intra-operability between the internal components of J-UCAS and inter-operability with external elements such as manned aircraft, command and control centers, and space assets. For initial demonstrations,

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