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

Mark Nankivil

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Good Day All -

I was over at the airport yesterday for the first flight - looong day waiting for things to happen but worth the wait to see it fly.
 

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Mike OTDP

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Just as long as they are nice, dull flights. No excitement. Exciting is very bad in flight test.
 

sferrin

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Hopefully they have better luck than the KC-46, 737MAX, 777-9, CST-100...
 

Grey Havoc

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Desertfox

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Hopefully they have better luck than the KC-46, 737MAX, 777-9, CST-100...
The military side of Boeing seems to be doing a lot better than the civilian side, they should move some execs from one to the other to fix things.
 

bring_it_on

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Hopefully they have better luck than the KC-46, 737MAX, 777-9, CST-100...
The military side of Boeing seems to be doing a lot better than the civilian side, they should move some execs from one to the other to fix things.
Really? On the military side, Boeing is running many programs that can be considered legacy production programs..those seem to be going fine as they are long established programs with little or no risk. They have written down Billions on the KC-46 which was a new program and not just a legacy product for their military side of the business. The lost the JSF, lost the LRS-B, and did not bid on the GBSD and despite having the X-51 under their belt don't appear to be much involved in the surge in Hypersonic programs either. Add their performance on the GBI and one definitely can't paint their military side of the business as whole lot better.
 

Sundog

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Well, they won the T-X, now T-7A, the MQ-25, the Super Hornet Block III upgrade, the F-15EX program and who knows what they're doing on the classified side of the ledger? It seems there was a big shift there once Leanne Caret took over in 2016, for the positive.
 

red admiral

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Well, they won the T-X, now T-7A, the MQ-25, the Super Hornet Block III upgrade, the F-15EX program and who knows what they're doing on the classified side of the ledger? It seems there was a big shift there once Leanne Caret took over in 2016, for the positive.
But aren't they loosing money on T-7A, MQ-25 and KC-46 contracts? Lots of money. It puts them in a good long term position to keep capabilities alive but short term cashflow might hurt them with the pressures on the commercial side at the same time.
 

bring_it_on

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Well, they won the T-X, now T-7A, the MQ-25, the Super Hornet Block III upgrade, the F-15EX program and who knows what they're doing on the classified side of the ledger? It seems there was a big shift there once Leanne Caret took over in 2016, for the positive.
They won the T-7A and it remains to be seen whether they can execute on budget and not have to take charges like they did on the KC-46. Same on the MQ-25. While T-7 was a big win, the MQ-25 is not really that large of a program. They were obviously expected to win the SH Block III effort because no other OEM could upgrade the Rhino given its a Boeing product. As I said, once you peal away the legacy programs the new stuff is either extremely low risk or when there is risk, they end up taking a whole lot of charges and go billions over budget. Who knows what is out there in the unclassified domain. They don't mention a lot of high end unclassified work in their conference call (like Lockheed does) but for all we know that could be going massively wrong as well.

But aren't they loosing money on T-7A, MQ-25 and KC-46 contracts?
Yeah they took a lot of charges on the KC-46 and an extreme amount of risk on the T-7A (not sure about the MQ-25) to a point where they likely will end up taking some sort of short term financial hit in the long term interest of sustained production and sustainment. All this was well and good when the commercial business was booming and they had record commercial backlogs and the problem of not being able to build aircraft fast enough. Now, they are raising debt to finance some of the MAX related issues. Certainly interesting times lie ahead for them financially with NGAD/PCA, FA-XX, and a whole host of other high profile competitions ahead.
 

Racer

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That would be only $28.2mio per air vehicle. Plus about $2mio(???) for engine. Would be all systems included in the Boeing cobtract or are there other fitting contracts around?
 

marauder2048

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I'm not trying to outpoint anyone - I just wonder why, if the V-22 could do mission tanking, neither the Navy nor Team V-22 is promoting it in that role. I suspect the answer might involve speed as well.
Per the MITRE Future Fleet Architecture report, it was considered.

Fielding a dedicated organic tanking platform. As was mentioned earlier, each
CVW dedicates five to six F/A-18 E/Fs for return and mission tanking. The Navy is
considering procuring KV-22s, re-activating KS-3Bs, and procuring a tanking
unmanned aerial system. Each option has advantages and disadvantages. However,
the sooner the Navy can field an organic tanking aircraft, more flight hours on the
F/A-18 E/Fs can be preserved to close the gap. If an organic tanker is not fully
deployed until FY22, then that translates into about 50 more F/A-18 E/F airframes
in 2030
Emphasis in original.


But the Navy elected to burn through more Super Hornets instead until
the MQ-25 arrives in force in 2030. By which time, per MITRE, the Navy will have
burned through 100 Super Hornet airframes on tanking during this period.

And the production line is being euthanized this FY for the SLM work,
so they can't "new build" their way out of this hole.
 

Sundog

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And the production line is being euthanized this FY for the SLM work,
so they can't "new build" their way out of this hole.
Which production line are you talking about and what is SLM work?
 

TomS

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And the production line is being euthanized this FY for the SLM work,
so they can't "new build" their way out of this hole.
Which production line are you talking about and what is SLM work?
SLM is Service Life Modification, the remanufacture of old Super Hornets to extend their lifespan.

With the reports that the Germans are planning to buy Super Hornet/Growler, then presumably some production capability will remain going forward a few more years. They seem to believe they can get new airframes starting in 2025.
 

Sundog

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OK, thanks. I thought they were also building new Block III Superhornets for the U.S. Navy as well.
 

marauder2048

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They seem to believe they can get new airframes starting in 2025.
They seem to believe a lot of things like inconceivably fast nuclear enabling/certification of a clean-sheet design
for a country that hasn't done it in 30 years. And by a company that hasn't done it in 40 years.
 

shin_getter

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But the Navy elected to burn through more Super Hornets instead until
the MQ-25 arrives in force in 2030. By which time, per MITRE, the Navy will have
burned through 100 Super Hornet airframes on tanking during this period.
With development of magic carpet and no actual war going on, can the navy just cut air frame killing carrier sorties and train air crew on land bases?

Or more correctly, just how much/what kind of autonomy capacities would finally cut into the so called need to train aircrew by actually flying them?
 

coanda

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Maybe there will be a Fatigue Investigation program carried out to see if they squeeze any more flight hours / cycles out of those tanking super hornets to try to offset the impact of waiting for MQ25.

BTW, I think waiting for the MQ25 is the right way forward. I feel it will be a more versatile asset to a strike package than a V-22.
 

Josh_TN

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Maybe there will be a Fatigue Investigation program carried out to see if they squeeze any more flight hours / cycles out of those tanking super hornets to try to offset the impact of waiting for MQ25.

BTW, I think waiting for the MQ25 is the right way forward. I feel it will be a more versatile asset to a strike package than a V-22.
+1. The V-22's would take up more space, have issues keeping up with aircraft, and involve a completely different launch and recovery cycle than other fixed wing a/c. I've been told that transitioning from fixed wing launch/recovery to rotary wing launch/recovery is actually a lot more complicated than one would imagine. The other thing is that MQ25 is a way to build experience and proficiency with embarked drones. Ultimately they may take on other roles. I suspect they would also be cheaper to operate; I think MV-22 is somewhat of a maintenance hog.
 

sferrin

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Maybe there will be a Fatigue Investigation program carried out to see if they squeeze any more flight hours / cycles out of those tanking super hornets to try to offset the impact of waiting for MQ25.

BTW, I think waiting for the MQ25 is the right way forward. I feel it will be a more versatile asset to a strike package than a V-22.

Still would have preferred an X-47 based product that could fight and tank, and would be into service sooner.
 

coanda

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Maybe there will be a Fatigue Investigation program carried out to see if they squeeze any more flight hours / cycles out of those tanking super hornets to try to offset the impact of waiting for MQ25.

BTW, I think waiting for the MQ25 is the right way forward. I feel it will be a more versatile asset to a strike package than a V-22.

Still would have preferred an X-47 based product that could fight and tank, and would be into service sooner.
I don't disagree, and always found that decision slightly strange.
 

coanda

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Maybe there will be a Fatigue Investigation program carried out to see if they squeeze any more flight hours / cycles out of those tanking super hornets to try to offset the impact of waiting for MQ25.

BTW, I think waiting for the MQ25 is the right way forward. I feel it will be a more versatile asset to a strike package than a V-22.
+1. The V-22's would take up more space, have issues keeping up with aircraft, and involve a completely different launch and recovery cycle than other fixed wing a/c. I've been told that transitioning from fixed wing launch/recovery to rotary wing launch/recovery is actually a lot more complicated than one would imagine. The other thing is that MQ25 is a way to build experience and proficiency with embarked drones. Ultimately they may take on other roles. I suspect they would also be cheaper to operate; I think MV-22 is somewhat of a maintenance hog.
Those are some good points.

I was thinking that the MQ25 lends itself to being closer to the threat and potentially providing other services such as electronic support via payload at some point in the future. I don't see the MQ25 being in the strike package directly due to differences in performance, but pre-planning etc can push aircraft out in front and make sure aircraft are around when manned aircraft are on the way home.

As sferrin states - the X-47 could potentially have been even more useful to a strike package.
 

Josh_TN

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I agree concerning the X-47...it seems to have been a victim of the requirement changing to just a refueling aircraft, but the platform had a lot more potential and would have been ready sooner.
 

kaiserd

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The MQ25 and the Navy Ospreys are not in competition; they are being bought to do different tasks and their roles don’t overlap.
The Navy Ospreys are not part of any strike package.
In this context the comments above don’t make a lot of sense....
 

TomS

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The MQ25 and the Navy Ospreys are not in competition; they are being bought to do different tasks and their roles don’t overlap.
The Navy Ospreys are not part of any strike package.
In this context the comments above don’t make a lot of sense....
The discussion is about whether it would have made more sense to buy a "KV-22" tanker instead of the MQ-25. That is a separate issue from the actual CMV-22 COD aircraft.
 

TomcatViP

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The X-47 IMOHO was less ready to fight at sea. Bring back performances (carrier recovery) would have been more tricky thanks to the lack of verticals.

Also the MQ-25 is a far less multi-mission platform, eating less budget and maintenance hours for the carrier force on overall.

I think the USN made an outstanding choice going nimbler on the mission set. Ppl on another thread are discussing F-111 and that should be read in context here.

Then, with all that Fuel, a full composite airframe, large span and available power, I have no doubt that the MQ could become something more spicy via Pods or conformal packs.
 

sferrin

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The X-47 IMOHO was less ready to fight at sea.
Less ready than a design that had yet to fly? (And still hasn't been to a carrier. Something the X-47B did seven YEARS ago.)
 
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