US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program

Sundog

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marauder2048 said:
Sundog said:
A couple of things Forbes doesn't know is all of the work that has already been completed by Boeing and experience they may already have with regard to many of the systems on the MQ-25 through classified programs.
I strongly suggest you look at the background of the author of that Forbes piece.
Yeah, I'm familiar with who is, although there was a little more information there, to the extent that I'll have to see if a friend's Dad worked with him. It in no way changes what I posted above.
 

marauder2048

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Sundog said:
marauder2048 said:
Sundog said:
A couple of things Forbes doesn't know is all of the work that has already been completed by Boeing and experience they may already have with regard to many of the systems on the MQ-25 through classified programs.
I strongly suggest you look at the background of the author of that Forbes piece.
It in no way changes what I posted above.
Then you're suggesting that the acquisition chief who was deeply involved in UCLASS/CBARS/MQ-25
and whose deputy during that effort has been and is now the program manager for the MQ-25 isn't familiar with the
materially relevant background of one of NAVAIR's main contractors despite visibility into their preliminary
UCLASS design on which their current prototype is based.
 

TomcatViP

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I wasn't myself very convinced with that piece of Forbes. Although the author did display a good insight of the program undoubtedly, he has IMO bypassed the fact that the two main KPP are fairly reasonable. We are supposed also to understand that the MQ-25 from Boeing already has an extensive flight history and that systems related modifications [expect perhaps CATOBAR] are fairly well understood already.
Boeing certainly can take up the challenge cost-wise.
The KC-46 was way more challenging (build a tanker after years of lost experience / modify a standardized civilian product at very low cost (initially) / create an entire new modernized set of system for refueling aircraft - all that while facing an aggressive (and proved to be surrealistic) bidding from a massive competitor) .
 

TomS

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Please
TomcatViP said:
We are supposed also to understand that the MQ-25 from Boeing already has an extensive flight history and that systems related modifications [expect perhaps CATOBAR] are fairly well understood already.
We are? My understanding is that Boeing's MQ-25 prototype has never flown and that the actual production representation aircraft may be significantly different from the prototype (new wing at least).
 

TomcatViP

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Yes. But initial info were that it was derived from a program requesting a flying stealthy UAV (and that it did fly).
 

bring_it_on

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It was amusing that Boeing didn't sprinkle some *Black Diamond* fairy dust (at least publicly) this time around.
 

TomS

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TomcatViP said:
Yes. But initial info were that it was derived from a program requesting a flying stealthy UAV (and that it did fly).
Source? I know it's derived from their UCLASS design, but that never resulted in flyable aircraft.
 

TomcatViP

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I am sure Boeing made it pretty clear when they released their first photo shot. I might be wrong but I all have a look at the history of this thread.

EDIT: this piece on The Drive.com :

And as we have long suspected, Boeing's MQ-25 design originally began development back in 2012 for the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program that was later withered down into a tanker drone with some ancillary surveillance potential. In fact, the airframe itself was secretly finished in 2014, before being put into storage until it was revived for the Carrier-Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS)/MQ-25 tender. So in essence, the design is not 'clean-sheet' for the tanking mission, although Boeing says they had that also in mind when designing it, and it isn't clear what was modified on the aircraft to meet the CBARS/MQ-25 requirements—but more on that in a moment.
:
 

TomS

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TomcatViP said:
I am sure Boeing made it pretty clear when they released their first photo shot. I might be wrong but I all have a look at the history of this thread.

EDIT: this piece on The Drive.com :

And as we have long suspected, Boeing's MQ-25 design originally began development back in 2012 for the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program that was later withered down into a tanker drone with some ancillary surveillance potential. In fact, the airframe itself was secretly finished in 2014, before being put into storage until it was revived for the Carrier-Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS)/MQ-25 tender. So in essence, the design is not 'clean-sheet' for the tanking mission, although Boeing says they had that also in mind when designing it, and it isn't clear what was modified on the aircraft to meet the CBARS/MQ-25 requirements—but more on that in a moment.
:
Nothing in that suggests that the 2014 UCLASS airframe (T-1) actually flew. Boeing has in fact specifically said it would not fly until after the MQ-25 contract award.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/17086/boeing-unveils-prototype-for-the-navys-mq-25-drone-tanker-competition

Boeing says the drone is functional, though it hasn't flown. It will finish engine test runs on the ground ahead of deck handling demonstrations in early 2018.
https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a19180745/boeing-tests-its-uav-tanker-aircraft-for-us-navy-carriers/

"We have been conducting flight deck demonstrations to test the agility and ability of the aircraft," Deborah VanNierop, a spokesperson for Boeing, told Popular Mechanics in an email. "We have successfully controlled the aircraft through all of the most challenging flight deck scenarios, including day and night operations, designed to show how the aircraft can be taxied and operated within the tight confines of the carrier flight deck."

Before flight tests, Phantom Works is finishing work on the T-1 specified in the U.S. Navy requirements. "We can’t share exactly when the aircraft is due to fly, but it will likely happen sometime after the contract award in August," says VanNierop.
 

TomcatViP

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I did read at the time this quote from Boeing and it certainly details the bird post-modification. Although you are right that we don't know for sure if it did fly in its original configuration, I have a hard time believing that a fully functional prototype was left untested in an obscure workshop from 2014 till now. I mean this is not a design with no specific novelties that wouldn't worth a short series of test (autonomous by the way). Boeing has been very active in this domain never shy to test any of their innovative UAV projects.

Add to that as a strong evidence the trust from the USN to let them bypass the Northrop design.

Another theory would be that they have built and tested a similar design (bigger or smaller) and both Boeing and the service fill confident enough that the MQ-25 is just another straightforward iteration of it.
 

TomS

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As a public company, Boeing can't outright lie about their programs. If they say that haven't flown T-1, they haven't. If they had flown it and didn't want to say so, they'd "no comment" or just say nothing.

It actually makes sense not to fly the prototype before award. At best, it gets you nothing because it's not an RFP response requirement. At worst, you crash it and you're out the money because it's a company initiative. Plus you'll look bad.

I'm sure they've flight tested elements of the design, like the control system. And it's possible there is a subscale RC version around somewhere. But likely nothing close in size or scope.
 

Flyaway

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Next U.S. Air Force Tanker Likely Autonomous

The U.S. Air Force’s next tanker aircraft will probably be autonomous, the service’s top acquisition official ...

http://m.aviationweek.com/defense/next-us-air-force-tanker-likely-autonomous
 

TomcatViP

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Meanwhile, the Air Force is continuing to mature technologies for a new refueling aircraft. Newly-released budget documents show the Air Force plans to start designing a “small, pod-mounted tactical air refueling boom for future Mobility applications.” The Air Force is also continuing to assess “promising configurations for future Mobility applications,” budget documents state, with wind tunnel tests scheduled in 2020 for “practical laminar flow treatments and coatings for highly swept wings applicable to Mobility applications.”
wow!
 

Hood

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The lack of a 'buddy pack' for the USAF due to their selection of the boom system has been a long-standing downside that other operators using drogue and probe refuelling have avoided. Its surprising its taken this long to look at, but I guess modern materials are making a complicated folding boom more practical, though I guess asymmetric drag will still be an issue.
 

sferrin

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Hood said:
The lack of a 'buddy pack' for the USAF due to their selection of the boom system has been a long-standing downside that other operators using drogue and probe refuelling have avoided. Its surprising its taken this long to look at, but I guess modern materials are making a complicated folding boom more practical, though I guess asymmetric drag will still be an issue.
;)
 

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Hood

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Interesting, I had overlooked or forgotten that F-105 buddy pod.
 

sferrin

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Hood said:
Interesting, I had overlooked or forgotten that F-105 buddy pod.
On second glance though, it's using the receiver F-105s probe rather than it's socket. :(
 

_Del_

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Yeah, it was just a boring drogue buddy pod. The extension arm just got the basket away from the majority of the wake. Thuds were hermaphrodites.
 

sferrin

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_Del_ said:
Yeah, it was just a boring drogue buddy pod. The extension arm just got the basket away from the majority of the wake. Thuds were hermaphrodites.
So were the F-101s. Can't think of any others that could use either.
 

TomS

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Looks like this hadn't been posted before. MQ-25 airframe en route from Boeing St. Louis to the Mid-America Airport for ground and flight testing. You can really get a better sense of scale from this, I think. And see the wing fold.

 

Mark Nankivil

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Knock on wood, planning to be there for first flight. Tough place to photograph at (high fence with tight fabric weave) but hey, got to try!

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

_Del_

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TomcatViP

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C'mon this is an aviation fan website, let's be more imaginative. What about rocket boots made out of soda bottle and mentos?
 

Mark Nankivil

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Great but don't drink the Methanol if you expect good picture :D

In anyway, good luck Mark. Hope you'd get a good catch!
Well, no first flight today, just engine runs. Enjoyed seeing it and hearing it though.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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billsnavycareer

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sferrin said:
I think the problem is they throw too much time at things which ends up costing too much money. Time is money after all. I'm all for, "measure twice, cut once" but not "measure forty-seven times, cut once, then throw the board in the garbage".
The other possibility is that UCAS-D demonstrated that the cost of meeting the UCAS/UAS ship suitability requirements (consider all of the CV segment supporting infrastructure and training costs) dominates air vehicle cost.

You can't skimp on the former so in order to meet your budget you have to reduce cost on the latter hence the descoping.

Another question is: just how much UCAS-D data was shared with the Lockheed and Boeing?
I don't recall hearing any complaints. On the contrary, Lockheed was arguing for more X-47B testing.
add the file
 

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