Navy May Add Strike, Surveillance Back To Carrier-Based Drone …

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy could add strike and surveillance capabilities back to drones being developed for aircraft carriers, according to Lockheed Martin’s (LMT) “Skunk Works” chief.

Rob Weiss, the defense giant’s executive vice president for Advanced Development Programs, said at Lockheed’s media day Tuesday that the Navy will soon issue final requirements for the MQ-25A Stingray that are expected to entail new designs from the companies tapped to draw up plans.

But while the emphasis for the drone will be on aerial refueling, other capabilities like intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance could follow.

“There will probably be a follow-up capability — some ISR it could do and potentially some strike — but it’s very much focused on tanking,” Weiss told reporters.

Lockheed, Boeing (BA), Northrop Grumman (NOC) and privately held General Atomics have separate contracts to produce competing developmental designs. The Navy plans to issue a formal request for proposals sometime this summer and award a contract in 2018.

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