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U.S. Navy Awards Boeing Lucrative MQ-25 Contract
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talks not just the Stingray, but some other acquisitions too, so this thread:
The U.S. Navy has selected
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for the long-awaited MQ-25A Stingray carrier-based unmanned refueling tanker contract to build four air vehicle prototypes.

The $805.2 million contract for four prototype UAVs will aid the service in fulfilling the carrier air wing’s tanker gap while simultaneously relieving the
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/F Super Hornet fleet of the air-to-air refueling mission. But the decision is likely to mean even better news for Boeing in the long run, as the service plans to purchase up to 72 Stingrays.

Three companies competed for this evolution in the future of naval aviation: Boeing,
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Inc. (GA-ASI) and
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Skunk Works. The Navy has been exploring this project since 1999 before nailing down requirements in 2017, and industry provided radically different concepts.

Boeing and GA-ASI pitched a wing-body-tail UAV configuration, while Lockheed Martin proposed a flying-wing design.

Boeing is a huge player in carrier aviation, but the company chose to adapt a design from the precursor to the MQ-25A, the now-canceled Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (Uclass) program. GA-ASI entered the competition as the underdog because this would have been the most complex aircraft the company had ever built. Lockheed Martin has experience with the carrier air wing by being the prime contractor for the
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. Boeing was the only company to build a prototype, which has not yet flown.

The Navy anticipates delivery of the first MQ-25A developmental aircraft in fiscal 2020, first flight in fiscal 2021, and declaring the aircraft combat-ready as early as 2024.

Uclass was focused on a UAV operating from an aircraft carrier equipped with strike, stealth and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.

The service’s acquisition executive, Hondo Geurts, says the Navy was able to award a prototype contract roughly a year after finalizing MQ-25A requirements because the service focused on just two key performance parameters (KPPs), which allowed industry to be creative with its solution.

The service’s two KPPs for the MQ-25 are carrier compatibility and a sea-based tanker.

In 2017, the chief of naval operations deemed the MQ-25, the Large Diameter Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, and the surface ship laser weapon system as accelerated acquisition programs. The Navy used a similar approach in defining requirements for the multibillion-dollar guided-missile frigate replacement program, Geurts says.

“What was really interesting about that is the requirements were really well informed by technology—what’s probable,” he says. “The same thing with the MQ-25, [a] very rapid requirements process—we had a lot of design trade space open for solution providers.”

The service requested $719 million in fiscal 2019 research and development funding for the MQ-25. The Navy is the systems integrator for the program’s three segments: aircraft; carrier; and control system and connectivity.

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that was enacted Aug. 13 directs the service to modify the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier George Washington (CVN 73) to accommodate the MQ-25.

The fiscal 2019 defense policy conference report notes the Navy should modify CVN 73 during its four-year refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) maintenance period, which began in 2017 at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

“The conferees believe that once fielded, the Navy should prioritize deploying the MQ-25 to the Pacific area of operations,” the report says. “In order to enable such deployments, the conferees believe that it is imperative that CVN 73, as the potential next forward deployed aircraft carrier, undergo the necessary modifications and alterations during its RCOH to enable MQ-25 operations as soon as possible.”

The new law gives the Navy wiggle room to complete necessary MQ-25 modifications during the RCOH or during a single follow-on maintenance period. A legislative aide told Aerospace DAILY it is imperative the only forward-deployed carrier is outfitted with the first carrier-based UAV.

“Nothing in this language should be interpreted as prohibiting the full installation of MQ-25 alterations and equipment during RCOH should developments allow it,” the report says. “Additionally, the conferees fully expect future Navy budgets will support this plan.”
 

anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member
Neither is being "considered" They are being pitched. Basically Lockheed Martin and Boeing are trying to get the USAF interested in possible buys.
Apparently, the USAF went to Lockheed and Boeing to ask if there was a way to cheaply make 4th gen fighters cheaply to replace the F-15 temporarily until the NGAD/PCA/whateverTheAcronymThisWeek is ready. Boeing came back with the 15X. Lockheed didn't bite. Instead, they are offering what they want the Japanese to buy: a hybrid F-22/F-35.

The F-15X runs about $65M/each.

The Frankenstein-22C would run around $190M if 140 are bought. Maybe as low as $170M if more are.

However, keep in mind the F-35A is running at just under $90M right now and will get down to ~85M to $80M.

Neither the Franken-22C nor the 15X are worth it when you run the numbers. Especially if you take into account the additional logistics of a new aircraft.

With the funding profile of the 6th gen going where it is, there are likely to be demonstrators in the air within 3 or 4 years. Then a selection and an LRIP within 10. Why muck that up with the 15X or 22C?
 

Skywatcher

Captain
There's a case for the 15X since we need a good relatively cheap intercept plane, but the Franken Raptor will just vacuum up funds when PCS needs it most.
 

SlothmanAllen

New Member
Registered Member
Neither is being "considered" They are being pitched. Basically Lockheed Martin and Boeing are trying to get the USAF interested in possible buys.
Sorry, considered may have been the wrong word, but given how close reports of both of these projects for an interim air superiority fighter emerged, I have to speculate the imputes might have been generated by military.
 

anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member
The 15X is still too expensive for what it is intended to be. Consider the cost of 200 15X is about the price of 152 35As. 48 extra airframes are not worth it.

If the 15X were, say, $45M, then I'd say there's a possibility. However, at $65M, it's too expensive as a 4th gen that's likely to be wildly obsolete in 15 years.
 

Skywatcher

Captain
Sorry, considered may have been the wrong word, but given how close reports of both of these projects for an interim air superiority fighter emerged, I have to speculate the imputes might have been generated by military.
US defense contractors spend a lot of time coming up with things that they (or foreign customers) dreamed of, and pitch it over to the DoD.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Apparently, the USAF went to Lockheed and Boeing to ask if there was a way to cheaply make 4th gen fighters cheaply to replace the F-15 temporarily until the NGAD/PCA/whateverTheAcronymThisWeek is ready. Boeing came back with the 15X. Lockheed didn't bite. Instead, they are offering what they want the Japanese to buy: a hybrid F-22/F-35.

The F-15X runs about $65M/each.

The Frankenstein-22C would run around $190M if 140 are bought. Maybe as low as $170M if more are.

However, keep in mind the F-35A is running at just under $90M right now and will get down to ~85M to $80M.

Neither the Franken-22C nor the 15X are worth it when you run the numbers. Especially if you take into account the additional logistics of a new aircraft.

With the funding profile of the 6th gen going where it is, there are likely to be demonstrators in the air within 3 or 4 years. Then a selection and an LRIP within 10. Why muck that up with the 15X or 22C?
More like 6-8 years and production 10-12 with IOC 17-18 years. With the limited buy of F22 The Airforce has been looking into a gap filler due to the age of F15 that were supposed to be boneyard now.
Yet the USAF is not quite ready to put down any money.
Boeing's offer of the F15X is interesting from the financial side but not nessisarily going to be able to keep relivent it's fine for defence but with proliferation of airdefences not likely to be able to fight first day of war. They leverage the current open production line but not much else.

Lockheed Martin is basically pitching is a fighter that could more than gap fill, potentially leverage tech with F35, F22 and sweeten there deal with Japan and the USAF as the two investments drop the price from the 10 Billion US estimate to restart F22 and fill missions into the 2070s. It would cost more but has a longer potential service life and more potential front line service perhaps even roadmap F22 SLEP.
 

Skywatcher

Captain
The Franken Raptor is going to take at least 5 years to go production after the program gets started, and with the way large multinational projects go, it'll be lucky if it becomes a program of record. Add on a couple of years to certify it, and then the USAF has to choose between Franken Raptor, the F-35, the PCA and LRSB. Not a pretty picture.
 

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