Marines Pursuing Large Ship-Based UAV For Comms, ISR, Fires

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

“The Marine Corps is in the early phases of developing a large Group 5 unmanned aerial system (UAS) that would operate from a ship and provide long-range, long-endurance capabilities for not only the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) but also potentially the Navy’s fleet and Army ground forces.

The Marines’ initial capabilities document for the MAGTF UAS Expeditionary (MUX) program was approved this month by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC). The document merged what had been two separate Group 5 UAS requirements that the Marine Corps ultimately determined could be fulfilled with a single air system, Lt. Col. Noah Spataro, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Capabilities Integration and Requirements Officer under the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, told USNI News last week. Group 5 UAS typically fly at medium- to high-altitude ranges and can weigh above 1,300 pounds – and are therefore the most complex to launch and recover.”

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U.S. Navy Tests Puma Unmanned System Aboard Missile Destroyer

Exercises include fully autonomous system for aircraft recovery.

“The United States Navy has tested and deployed the RQ-20B Puma small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) aboard a Flight I Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG Class), according to an AeroVironment Inc. announcement. Some of these exercises included the use of the company’s fully autonomous system to recover the aircraft aboard a ship.

Following completion of a Puma AE intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission, the AeroVironment precision recovery system provides for the autonomous on-board recovery of the aircraft, without interrupting the ship’s operations. Because the Puma AE is also designed to land and float in water, operators can choose to recover it from the ocean, should mission requirements dictate.”

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