The Navy issued a classified draft request for proposal for a carrier-borne stealth remotely piloted aircraft last week. The service solicited Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman to bid on building its Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike platform, reported Flight Global. Northrop Grumman built the Navy’s X-47B demonstrator, which successfully launched from a carrier for the first time in trials last year, and all four companies are currently under contract to draft preliminary designs. The Navy requested $403 million for UCLASS development in Fiscal 2015 and plans to spend roughly $2.67 billion to field the aircraft over the next five years, according to Flight Global.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.