Hope everyone's having a great weekend. Here's a short roundup of a couple of articles we missed that popped up over the course of the week:
First off, DT's buddy over at the DEW Line, Steve Trimble has two damned interesting pieces on the future of Navy's unmanned strike jets. Check out this Star Wars-esque design for a UAV mother ship capable of carrying two smaller, combat drones. Pretty cool.
We tweeted this great snag by Trimble late last month, but I still don't think it got enough attention; it's the Navy's solicitation for a legit, stealthy combat drone, dubbed the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS). Think of it as sort of a successor to the X-47 UCAS. Like I just said, the Navy wants a stealthy, carrier-launched, air-to-air refuelable jet that can carry bombs and ISR gear over fairly heavily defended targets. Oh, and the sea service wants the plane to be fielded by 2018. This means it's likely going to be based on a UAV that's already fairly well along in development. Trimble points out the candidates, I'll let you read about em at The DEW Line.
Meanwhile, Defense News has a little nugget of info about the Air Force's plans to field its newest stealth bomber in a (relatively, I mean, we're still talking 15 years, here) short amount of time. Apparently, the service wants to use a similar acquisition process to that of the MC-12 Liberty program that saw a fleet of Hawker Beechcraft Super King Air turboprop planes quickly bought and converted into ISR planes before being rushed into the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan. We'll see if they can do the same with a very, very different type of aircraft. Although, we already know the service wants to use existing technologies to field the new bomber. So, it may just be feasible.
Oh and here's a cool clip of the Navy's latest test of a ship killing laser gun. Watch how the ray demolishes a pair of outboard motors.