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Showing posts from April 7, 2013

Fiscal Reality Hits the Navy's UAV Fleet

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Though budgets for unmanned systems in the U.S. Navy have been growing rapidly the past few years, even these programs have not been immune from the chopping block in the 2014 budget.  Several cuts have been announced in the past weeks.  The RQ-21 program appears to be shaved from both a Navy and Marine Corps system to possibly a Marine Corps-only aircraft to be deployed on and from Navy ships.  Some technical delays and likely budget shortfalls have caused delays in production of Northrop Grumman's exorbitantly-costly MQ-4C Triton UAV, with $25 million shifted from Fiscal Year 14 to 15. 


 The future total buy of another important ISR aircraft, Northrop's MQ-8 Fire Scout, is up in the air.  During a briefing on the FY 14 budget, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget Rear Admiral Joseph Mulloy remarked, "it'll be next year before I could lay out where I go with MQ-8."  The aircraft continues to set flying hour records while deployed to the Middle …