Service officials have worked hard to keep the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) program alive despite threats from budget cuts to include sequestration. The presolicitation is towards raising the necessary funding on Capitol Hill.
The Navy hopes to issue a formal Request For Proposals for the UCLASS this summer. According to a report by Flight Global, the Navy stated in its announcement that Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Atomics and Northrop Grumman all "have credible, existing, comprehensive UCLASS design solutions, and associated production capabilities and facilities."
In December, Northrop Grumman demonstrated its X-47B in tests aboard the USS Harry S Truman.