Images like this one really get my attention because they bring the theory of UAVs to carrier-based life. But, first things first. Always awesome Amy Butler reports today at Aviation Week that the U.S. Navy is finally accepting proposals for stealthy unmanned combat aerial system (UCAS) vehicles that can demonstrate a capability to operate from carriers. According to Amy's report "Boeing and Northrop Grumman have been dusting off their earlier X-45 and X-47 designs for the Navy's recent request for proposals (RFP) on the UCAS-D (demonstrator) program. The RFP involves a specific set of requirements for carrier operations, including catapult launch, arrested landing and deck handling."
So we take another step toward the day when a Hornet pilot looks over from where he's parked under the island and sees an unmanned vehicle taxi past on its way to the cat.
And so too closer is the day when a Hornet pilot gets cut out of the spin pattern by an unmanned vehicle. And, while we're on the subject, who will the air boss yell at over the radio when an unmanned vehicle pulls power in the wires?