MQ-25 US Navy Stingray Program

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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 00:55

sferrin wrote:And why does NG get the LEAST amount of money? :doh: :bang:

Because otherwise it would be too easy. Grumman is NavAv
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neptune

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Unread post15 Aug 2017, 01:02

sferrin wrote:And why does NG get the LEAST amount of money? :doh: :bang:



Boeing $43,354,421 N19-16-C-0084
Boeing $19,145,579 mod P00005
Boeing $62,500,000
LM $43,606,518 N19-16-C-0086
LM $18,893,482 mod P00006
LM $62,500,000
GA $43,736,111 N19-16-C-0085
GA $18,735,000 mod P00005
GA $62,471,111
NG $35,752,362 N19-17-C-0017
NG $24,797,517 mod P00007
NG $60,549,879
TOTAL $248,020,990

....maybe a used $2,000,000 vehicle??
:wink:
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Unread post11 Sep 2017, 23:45

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ts-441032/

US Navy tightens unmanned tanker requirements

11 September, 2017
BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

The US Navy solidified parameters for its unmanned MQ-25 Stingray, setting up a spartan platform that will satisfy not much more than carrier suitability and air refueling requirements. Following years of fluctuating requirements and various UAV incarnations, the navy appears to have nailed down its vision for MQ-25 in its final requirements documents. The service is focusing on the MQ-25’s basic ability to operate from a carrier and adjusted the mission focus for air refueling, according to a Government Accountability Office report released this week. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) validated two requirements this July and the service is capping MQ-25’s development costs at $2.5 billion, with funding projected to jump from $89 million in 2017 to $554.6 million in 2022. Although the navy has identified an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability as part of MQ-25’s portfolio, the Pentagon directed the navy last year to shift its focus away from ISR and toward an unmanned carrier based air refueling aircraft. That move reflected a crackdown on MQ-25’s development, which has seen several iterations since the program’s inception early in the last decade.

The navy originally set out to acquire an unmanned tanker but by 2013, the program had evolved into the Unmanned Carrier Launch Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) platform. Three years later, the service restructured the stealthy UCLASS into the Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System, which the navy designated MQ-25. Four companies are bidding for the contracts to develop and produce the MQ-25 fleet: Boeing, General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems Inc, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. As the navy reins in its capabilities for MQ-25, the service is also constraining the program’s development schedule to a maximum of eight years after the start of development, which is scheduled for summer of 2018. The navy plans to limit technology risk during development by mandating the aircraft carry proven subsystems. “If a technology is identified that does not meet this criteria, the navy plans to push that technology into the future and include it only when it reaches the specified level of maturity,” the GAO report states. “As we reported in March 2017, failure to fully mature technologies prior to developing the system design can lead to redesign and cost and schedule growth if later discoveries during development lead to revisions.”
:)
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Unread post12 Sep 2017, 01:51

As the navy reins in its capabilities for MQ-25, the service is also constraining the program’s development schedule to a maximum of eight years after the start of development, which is scheduled for summer of 2018.

Can't happen soon enough.
"When a fifth-generation fighter meets a fourth-generation fighter—the [latter] dies,”
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neptune

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Unread post12 Sep 2017, 15:42

popcorn wrote:As the navy reins in its capabilities for MQ-25, the service is also constraining the program’s development schedule to a maximum of eight years after the start of development, which is scheduled for summer of 2018.

Can't happen soon enough.


....Is that a waffle on the CNO desire for it to be flying in 2019??
:)
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Unread post12 Oct 2017, 03:12

https://news.usni.org/2017/10/10/navy-r ... d-revealed

Navy Releases Final MQ-25 Stingray RFP; General Atomics Bid Revealed

By: Sam LaGrone
October 10, 2017

Naval Air Systems Command has quietly released the final request for proposals to industry for the unmanned MQ-25 Stingray aerial tanker, USNI News has learned. Last week, the Navy issued the RFP to four industry competitors for the air segment of what will be the service’s Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aerial vehicle ahead of an anticipated contract award by September of next year, a NAVAIR spokeswoman told USNI News on Tuesday. The competitors are Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Atomics. The Navy wants to field the capability on its carriers to alleviate the strain on the existing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets that are burning through flight hours while serving as a refueling tanker for other aircraft attempting to land on the aircraft carrier. Up to 20 to 30 percent of Super Hornet sorties are refueling missions.

While the Navy has been reluctant about the specific goals of the program, the service’s basic requirements will have the Stingray deliver about 15,000 pounds of fuel 500 nautical miles from the carrier. “The MQ-25 will give us the ability to extend the air wing out probably 300 or 400 miles beyond where we typically go. We will be able to do that and sustain a nominal number of airplanes at that distance,” Air Boss Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker said in the September issue of Proceedings. “That will extend the reach of the air wing, and when we combine that with additional weapons we are buying, we will get an impressive reach.” The current effective strike radius of a Super Hornet is about 450 miles, and the MQ-25 could extend the range to more than 700 nautical miles. Of the four companies vying for the business, General Atomics has released the first complete images of its planned bid for Stingray. The aircraft is a wing-body-tail design that shares design characteristics with the General Atomics Avenger design, including a turbofan engine and V-shaped tailfins. The image, provided to USNI News, show the GA Stingray concept fielding a standard D-704 buddy tank refueling system. While company representatives didn’t reveal details of the bid, like aircraft dimensions or internal fuel capacity, they did point out some features unique to the GA bid. The aircraft will have an electro-optical ball like GA’s MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper UAVs; landing gear that pulls into the fuselage, which is reminiscent of the old S-3 Viking anti-submarine warfare aircraft; and a system for maneuvering around the flight deck using gestures from the flight crew, retired Rear Adm. Terry Kraft who now works for General Atomics told USNI News on Saturday. In addition to the carrier suitability requirements set by the Navy, GA has included a margin for growth. “You can see a future for weaponizing, you could see a future for ISR capability. The Navy has already asked us to put hooks in there for a radar and I think it’s very logical that the first spiral would be some type of radar installation,” Kraft said. “At the end of the day, the UAV is a truck.”
:)

....KS-3A modified can carry 30klbs. of JP-5 for 530mi. (combat radius); ten (or more, 90+ are in storage) could be flown manually for a year while the others are converted to QS-3 with the same control systems as the MQ-25 Stingray and flown in 2019 as requested by CNO.
This would relieve the SBugs from tanking, prepare the CVN for unmanned tanker operations and allow for the initial development of the Stingray in a cost effective manner. Simply swap the certified MQ-25 for the QS-3!
:D
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Unread post26 Oct 2017, 02:31

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... on-442510/

Northrop Grumman pulls out of MQ-25 competition

25 October, 2017
BY: Leigh Giangreco

Washington DC
Northrop Grumman has withdrawn from participating in the US Navy’s competition to develop the MQ-25 Stingray, saying the company would have been unable to execute the program under the terms of the service’s request for proposals.
The announcement came as a surprise during a 25 October third quarter earnings call with Northrop CEO Wes Bush, who told analysts the company would not submit a bid for the Stingray following aggressive internal analysis. Northrop’s decision leaves three other companies bidding for the contracts to compete for the MQ-25 contract: Boeing, General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems Inc and Lockheed Martin. It also comes after the USN has narrowed the scope of the MQ-25 mission to providing in-flight refueling for manned, carrier-based fighters. The refueling mission evolved after the USN discarded a series of previous concepts for a carrier-based, unmanned jet, which included stealthy and non-stealthy versions of surveillance and attack requirements. “Our objective is not just to win, but if you can’t execute on it then you’ve done the wrong thing,” Bush says. “We’ve worked hard to have great clarity on what our objectives are. When you’re entrusted by the US government to do something in the defense arena, that’s a bond of trust.” In September, a Government Accountability Office report emphasized a no-frills version of the MQ-25, focusing on the basic ability to operate from a carrier and adjusted the mission focus for air refueling. Last year, the Pentagon attempted to rein in the Stingray’s projected development costs by directing the navy to shift its focus away from surveillance and toward air refueling.

The announcement marks the third time in the last decade Northrop has pulled out of a bid for a contract to develop a US military aircraft.

-US Air Force’s T-X trainer program:

Last February, the company announced it would bow out of the US Air Force’s T-X trainer program after Bush hinted during an earnings call that Northrop was reassessing the business case for submitting a bid. In that case, Northrop decided the financial benefits of winning the contract outweighed the costs. In 2010, Northrop withdrew a bid for the

-USAF’s air refueling tanker program based on the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker-transport:
USAF’s air refueling tanker program based on the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker-transport, forcing Airbus to compete as a prime contractor against the ultimately victorious Boeing KC-46.

-Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System:
The US Navy has changed requirements for the Stingray program several times. The concept has evolved from a stealthy, strike and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform dubbed the Unmanned Carrier Launch Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS), into a more pared down Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System, which the navy designated MQ-25.

....would passive EO/DAS visuals, IFF and/or GPS (Tacan/JPALS type??) linked to a "tanking a/c" from the Stingray be of benefit to the pilot/ system?

....so much for the X-47B lineage
:(
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Unread post26 Oct 2017, 02:34

Not too surprised with the rumors I've heard on MQ-25.
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Unread post26 Oct 2017, 02:53

“Our objective is not just to win, but if you can’t execute on it then you’ve done the wrong thing,” Bush says.

So what was the deal breaker for NG? Inability to meet some technical requirement? Or their platform solution (likely based on X-47B) would have been engineering overkill and not price-competitive?
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Unread post26 Oct 2017, 02:59

I'd say probably a combination of changes in the requirements (it's the Navy after all, they don't know what they want and change their minds every 5 min; see rule #15) and an unrealistic cost/schedule.
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Unread post26 Oct 2017, 04:10

rheonomic wrote:I'd say probably a combination of changes in the requirements (it's the Navy after all, they don't know what they want and change their minds every 5 min; see rule #15) and an unrealistic cost/schedule.

Perhaps but that would apply to all vendors equally. Obviously NG did not think it was worth the risk which would be smart business. Winning the LRSB competition gives them a cushion.
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Unread post26 Oct 2017, 22:17

rheonomic wrote:Not too surprised with the rumors I've heard on MQ-25.


My guess is that they could not leverage the X-47 into a competitive platform. The photo of the X-47 with refueling pod/ext tank indicates they tried. But I don't think the cranked arrow planform lends itself to performing as a tanker and/or carrying an adequate fuel load, internally or via external tanks.

The GA proposal and hints by Boeing and LM that they were shifting to a more traditional planform indicates that a cranked een arrow/flying wing was not the preferred planform.

There are a lot of unknowns because a carrier based unmanned tanker has never been attempted previously. On the surface its is hard to imaging that a modified Avenger would be able to carry 15,000 lbs out to 500 nm. Maybe with 480/600 gal external tanks too? Idk. And what will be the mission profile? Fly out to 500 nm and top off the package and then orbit for the return, or will a different MQ-25 head out for the return leg?

And how much will the MQ-25A weigh? Certainly more than 50,000 lbs. But who knows.
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Unread post16 Nov 2017, 19:31

http://aviationweek.com/defense/us-navy ... mq-25-snub

U.S. Navy Shrugs Off Northrop’s MQ-25 Snub

Nov 15, 2017
James Drew


NAS PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland—
Northrop Grumman’s departure from the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray competition hasn’t fazed Naval Air Systems Command (Navair), the organization in charge of acquiring up to 72 carrier-based unmanned tankers. Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons at Navair, says, “It’s their decision,” and Northrop continues to support the program under a contract for concept refinement that runs through March 2018. “We’re going to move forward with our strategy,” Darrah said during an interview with Aviation Week at Navair’s headquarters at Patuxent River here. “We’ve got a very robust request for proposals [RFP] and feel we’re in a good position with whoever remains behind to give us a proposal.” Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems are still in the hunt for the multibillion-dollar program. The RFP was released Oct. 4, and proposals are due by Jan. 3, 2018.

Northrop would have been a leading contender had the Navy not switched focus from a carrier-based unmanned surveillance and strike aircraft to an aerial refueling platform for topping-up strike fighters. The company had developed, delivered and flown two prototype X-47B aircraft in support of the former Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike program, but seemed to lose enthusiasm when the Navy instead asked for an MQ-25 tanker to be developed on a fixed-price incentive contract. Northrop CEO Wes Bush announced the company’s withdrawal on Oct. 25 during an earnings call, saying, “We could not put forward an attractive proposition to the Navy that would represent a reasonable business case for our company.”

Darrah confirms that a down-select to one vendor for MQ-25 is expected by late summer 2018. The development contract will deliver four aircraft for testing and evaluation. The winner must then prove themselves by delivering the promised capability on time and on budget. If successful, they could receive follow-on contracts for the production phase. Darrah says the program of record calls for 72 aircraft capable of operating from Nimitz or Ford-class carriers. “We want to go as fast as we can and get them out there as quickly as we can. We’re incentivizing [the contractor] to do well in the engineering and manufacturing development phase,” he says.

The only two KPP (key performance parameters) are carrier integration and mission tanking. To qualify, the proposed aircraft must be capable of offloading 14,000 lb. of gas starting at 500 mi. from the carrier. The Navy says all other design attributes are “trade space” that can be exchanged for greater performance or lower costs in other areas. Secondary attributes previously being considered, like 12 hr. of endurance, were removed. No new development is planned for this aircraft, just integration of mature, existing capabilities, including the government-furnished aerial refueling system (ARS), or buddy store. The MQ-25 will carry an electro-optical/infrared sensor ball and have space, weight, power and cooling provisions for a potential maritime surveillance radar.

Instead of specifying how many MQ-25s will embark at a time, the Navy has told contractors how many refueling “hoses” it needs for carrier operations. The service also has provided contractors with a “spot factor” value, the maximum amount of real estate their platform can occupy on the carrier deck, including peculiar support equipment. Darrah says many of the competitors are already working on advanced prototypes, including flying and non-flying test articles. Based on what the contractors may or may not have already shown the Navy already, he teased that people might see something flying sooner than expected after contract award.

Darrah says the tanker will not carry weapons, but future carrier-based drones might. The purpose of the MQ-25, he says, is to develop an aircraft optimized for tanking that will extend the operational range of the carrier air wing and free up Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for combat missions. “We want an aircraft design from the start to do that mission,” Darrah says. “It’s about utilizing aircraft in a more efficient way.”
:)
....with NG secure in the B-21 program and having proven the unmanned program by bringing it aboard the carrier, it indicates it will now wait for the resurrection of the UCLASS program.

....sadly, I am beginning to believe that Boeing will win the competition by simply submitting the F/A-18D as the MQ-25 competitor. It has "existing" operations, maintenance and supply requirements in place and 100s (for the required 72) of existing planes/ spare parts that can be "upgraded" each with; an excess fuel load capability with the existing a-a refueling operating experience and it is f-b-w, a technology that Boeing has experience "un-manning" the QF-16 program. And lastly the F-35 program will be replacing (retiring) the -18D, thus they are available. This might also explain the exit of NG (all others are no competition).
:(
Last edited by neptune on 17 Nov 2017, 07:32, edited 3 times in total.
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Unread post17 Nov 2017, 02:57

MQ-25...No mission creep please. Mitigate risk to costs and schedule.
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Unread post18 Nov 2017, 00:41

Regarding the unmanned legacy hornet idea - I can understand how this might make some sense. Reduce development time and reuse an airframe that has already been paid for. But I would be shocked if this concept was proposed and selected.

1. The airframe isn't optimized for tanker duty. It has two engines. One would be more fuel efficient - maximizing the amount of fuel that could be off loaded.

2. It could carry four external fuel tanks. Pushing total volume over 20,000 lbs if it is able to carry the SH's 480 gallon tanks. I am not sure if that is enough to meet the off load requirement at 500 nm.
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