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

TomcatViP

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:rolleyes:

... I think you've got a point. My bad.

Obviously, my ill-fated remark was more on aerodynamics: less a proven system to land autonomously without tail on a carrier.
 

VTOLicious

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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.
Indeed... Boeing had its UCLASS prototype ready to go and it satisfied the tanker role without major changes to the airframe, apparently. LM and GA had no hardware to show and we never saw a Northrop proposal for CBARS btw.
 

sferrin

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:rolleyes:

... I think you've got a point. My bad.

Obviously, my ill-fated remark was more on aerodynamics: less a proven system to land autonomously without tail on a carrier.

Except that it did it seven years ago. Boeing's still hasn't. So even from a aerodynamic standpoint I don't see how it works. Also the MQ-25A will be the first butterfly tail on a carrier. So that's not really proven either.
 

TomcatViP

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I have watched the videos till my eyes burnt and I swore that nobody serious would be confident that the design was inherently safe...
Gremlins were there IMOHO. I mean some other design like the A320 have their fare share of them and still fly commercially... and crash.

Butterfly is also fairy easy to understand. The bad point is that it's draggy not unsafe (draggy without FBW and relaxed stability).
 

TomS

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[...]Also the MQ-25A will be the first butterfly tail on a carrier. So that's not really proven either.
Supermarine type 508 was tested on HMS Eagle.
View attachment 634367
Image found here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187767

The French Navy also used the butterfly tailed CM.175 Zephyr as their primary carrier trainer for quite a while.

11746L.jpg
 

_Del_

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:rolleyes:

... I think you've got a point. My bad.

Obviously, my ill-fated remark was more on aerodynamics: less a proven system to land autonomously without tail on a carrier.

Except that it did it seven years ago. Boeing's still hasn't. So even from a aerodynamic standpoint I don't see how it works. Also the MQ-25A will be the first butterfly tail on a carrier. So that's not really proven either.

I think it was mostly a victim of shifting priorities (rightly or wrongly), and while I think an X-47C style UCAV would have been worth quite a bit more for naval aviation and justifying the existence of the carrier fleet, I wouldn't close the door on the idea that there were probably technical difficulties to overcome, yet.

We've landed a C-130 and a U-2 on a carrier before. The C-130 wasn't selected to replace the C-2, and the U-2 won't be providing carrier-borne ISR. Possible and feasible don't directly translate to useful and better.

I'm pretty sure the Boeing product is going to have an easier road to get aboard and aloft at higher gross-weights, and probably will have better margins in bad weather and chop, too. Just the nature of having a tail gives it those advantages.

Can a flying wing design overcome the obstacles and be operationally useful? I am sure it could with time and money.

And again, I tend to agree that it would have been worth it. But I don't know that the test program demonstrated enough to conclude that.
 

sferrin

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I have watched the videos till my eyes burnt and I swore that nobody serious would be confident that the design was inherently safe...
Gremlins were there IMOHO. I mean some other design like the A320 have their fare share of them and still fly commercially... and crash.

Butterfly is also fairy easy to understand. The bad point is that it's draggy not unsafe (draggy without FBW and relaxed stability).

Tailless is the way of the future for stealth. You overcome the gremlins by trying to ignore the problem. Just sayin'.
 

sferrin

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[...]Also the MQ-25A will be the first butterfly tail on a carrier. So that's not really proven either.
Supermarine type 508 was tested on HMS Eagle.
View attachment 634367
Image found here: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205187767

The French Navy also used the butterfly tailed CM.175 Zephyr as their primary carrier trainer for quite a while.

11746L.jpg

Honestly I had trouble even thinking of any military jets with a butterfly tail, other than the YF-23 and Magister. Didn't realize there was a carrier version of the latter.
 

aonestudio

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Mark Nankivil

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Good Day All -

I was over near Mid-America a few weeks ago and found the MQ-25 partially out of the hangar so took a pic thru the fence. First time I have seen it with the refueling pod on. Also note the upper surface spoiler and it appears the right butterfly tail surface is not mounted.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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TomcatViP

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Service leaders announced last week they want to base a squadron of 20 MQ-25A Stingray tanker drones, which leaders say will revolutionize carrier air wings, at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, California. The base is about 65 miles west of Los Angeles.


Also
 

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I just assumed in a tanker configuration that the pod would be counter balanced by a drop tank on the other side. I assume the buddy store for this flight is empty for the first time out.
 

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MQ-25's new Boeing satcom flat antenna:

The new electronically steered antenna, developed by Boeing's Phantom Works advanced technology division, is the fourth iteration the aerospace giant has come up with and the second to rely on Ka-band frequencies. It can also tap into the Defense Department's Wideband Global Satcom satellite system. Over its predecessor, this version improves all three of size, weight and power (SWAP) by getting smaller and adding air cooling and tacks on the ability to receive dual beams, according to Tom Gathman, manager of communications and mission systems for Boeing Phantom Works.


The price decrease, in particular, puts the antenna in greater consideration for adoption. Defense customers are willing to spend considerably more than the commercial operators; Gathman said that market studies are showing a willingness to spend "several hundred thousand" dollars per antenna.

"Certainly, a lot of the reports are, one of the [reasons for] hesitancy of adoption thus far has been on the price point, but we think we’ve got that licked," he said, though he declined to share a number.

The other demand from customers has been open architecture.

"Several customers have commented to us that being locked into proprietary solutions is not the way to go in the future," Gathman said, leading Boeing to design the antenna to be modular, scalable and work easily with third-party modems.

The modem and the network signal are the biggest determinant in performance, Gathman said, but the antenna can handle a throughput of tens or hundreds of MBs of data if enough satellite power is devoted to the task.

The antenna system, which comprises the antenna itself and a power source, both line-replaceable and able to be placed "quite a distance apart" from each other, can be installed quickly — measured in hours, not days — and easily. Previous generations have been done in the field
 

Acatomic

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Some interesting tidbits from report:

....Under the Proposed Action, the Navy would home base 20 Stingray CBUAS; construct a hangar, training facilities, and supporting infrastructure; perform air vehicle (AV) maintenance; provide training for air vehicle operators (AVOs) and maintainers; conduct approximately 960 Stingray CBUAS annual flight operations.....

....The Stingray CBUAS is designed to enhance aircraft carrier capability and versatility for the Joint Forces Commander through integration of an effective, sustainable, and adaptable Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) into the carrier air wing (CVW). The Stingray CBUAS will be the Navy’s first carrier-based unmanned aircraft to function primarily as a mission refueling AV, extending the range and reach of the CVW. The Stingray CBUAS will also provide secondary recovery tanking (refueling close to the carrier), as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities....

....The Navy anticipates establishing a home base for the Stingray CBUAS on each coast of the continental U.S. and one permanent detachment in support of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Japan. Based on strategic guidance, the West Coast squadron would be established before the East Coast squadron. The Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) must be co-located with the first operational squadron to provide initial and follow-on training. This EA focuses on the home basing for the West Coast of the continental U.S. The West Coast Stingray CBUAS Squadron would be comprised of four detachments, each intended to be deployed with an E-2C/D Hawkeye Airborne Command & Control (VAW) squadron.

....The Stingray CBUAS consists of two segments, the AV (aircraft) and the ground control station. The AV is capable of launch and recovery aboard aircraft carriers at-sea and at airfields on land. Stingray CBUAS’ support and handling equipment includes the deck handling system, spares, and repair materials. An AVO uses the ground control station and its associated communication equipment in line of sight and beyond line of sight control of the AV for all phases of the mission, including engine start, taxi, take-off, mission functions, landing, and engine shutdown.

....The first Stingray CBUAS detachment and all supporting elements will begin operation in the U.S. Pacific Fleet no later than FY 2025. The Stingray CBUAS will achieve full operational capability in approximately FY 2031.

....AVO training in the fleet and FRS is expected to take place largely in virtual environments. Virtual training is supplemented with live flight training. The Stingray CBUAS will perform conventional take-offs and landings ashore and will also have the ability to perform an arrested landing in the event of AV malfunction or when conditions warrant a precautionary arrested landing. AVO proficiency training will include some live flight training; however, the number of expected flights and airfield operations are significantly less than that of other manned carrier squadrons.

...During offshore flight operations, Stingray CBUAS may conduct its aerial refueling mission at altitudes between 5,000 and 25,000 feet.

...Building PM385 Battery Shop: An approximately 2,000 sq ft addition to the existing aircraft battery shop on the installation in Building PM385 is proposed for lithium-ion battery maintenance and storage (Figure 2.3-3).
 

aonestudio

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aonestudio

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View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqZOaUpORjo

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2uGkF2J1Y0


 
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isayyo2

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View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2uGkF2J1Y0


The future is now!

 

aonestudio

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Josh_TN

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I'd think there would be a wide inventory of sensors from the MQ-9 program that could more or less strap on to a MQ-25 for surveillance. That's probably not a really great fit; the MQ-25 is in a much heavier (and higher altitude?) weight class, but those could likely be off the shelf buys with limited integration.

One place where a long endurance, unmanned platform might shine in USN usage is ASW warfare. There are pods for sonobuoys for the MQ-9 already; it seems to me this would be an obvious and desirable role for MQ-25s to have some capability in.
 

yasotay

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No surprise that the USN is getting pressed to do more with the MQ-25 before it has been to sea. ASW might be an alternate mission. Has there been any technology work that precludes sticking a great big stick out of the back end of the aircraft? If it can be done without significant modification I would think that a good option.
 

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