« Last post by kaiserd on Today at 01:06:54 am »
When I heard the chatter about X47B getting cancelled, I was dubious. I argued that it was absolutely vital even to my less than informed eyes. "To protect the F35 at all costs" was the near instantaneous response.
There's practically no evidence to support this theory.
nor is there any evidence that it isn't true.
There's plenty of evidence to the contrary: the descoping of UCLASS to the tanker role rather
than outright termination is a logical consequence of the Navy's ill-advised decision to retire
the S-3 and give the tanking mission to the Super Bug which is bleeding those airframes dry.
There's talk of the precedent of one program being cancelled to protect another which
completely ignores the A-12; a high-risk, highly survivable aircraft with broad-based support
in OSD and with another service.
The A-12 wasn't cancelled to protect another program but the uniformed and civilian officers
who backed it had their careers wrecked nonetheless. The A-12 has cast a *long* shadow
on the Navy; UCLASS is a high-risk departure from conventional carrier operations and it
could fail with a lot of collateral damage.
My view is that the Navy should take the risk but it's not my career at stake.
CBARS is a surer bet that does satisfy a real (if largely self-inflicted) need.
I think a lot of contributors (and politicans) underestimate the risks that were involved with the UCLASS; it is notable that we hearing a lot less of the roughly contemporary B-21 being "optionally-manned" with the US Airforce not having a public programme for an autonomous survivable deep strike UCAV.
The US Navy would have to spend to push the state of the art while also paying for the F-35C to replace the legacy Hornets, or sacrificing the F-35C.
Ironically there appears to be a lobby within the US Navy aviation branch that is so conservative, risk adverse, myopic and in thrall to Boeing that would sacrifice everything for some warmed up Super Hornets.
In that context not surprising UCLASS found itself without a major pro-lobby as no one willing inside the IS Navy to "bet the farm" on an expensive risky and even if successful potentially limited flexibility system.