The U.S. Navy released a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike system (UClass) air segment to four contractors on April 17. The service expects to release a final RFP later this year.
Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Atomics, each of which received $15 million contracts last August to conduct preliminary design review assessments, received the draft proposal document. “The purpose of the draft RFP is to solicit industry to design, develop, assemble, deliver, test and integrate the air segment into the UClass system,” the Naval Air Systems Command said.
The Navy first issued a request for information to identify potential industry sources for UClass systems in March 2010. It seeks an “organic, sea-based unmanned aerial system, with persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting and strike capabilities.” The service has requested $403 million for the program in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget—more than three times the $121 million approved this year.
During a budget briefing last month at the Pentagon, Rear Adm. William Lescher, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for budget, said the UClass program “remains on a path to achieve early operational capability by 2020,” with a planned contract award in FY2015, which begins in October.