Regular readers of this blog know that ComNavOps is often highly critical of Navy leadership and with good reason. The litany of failed and failing programs and policies is a long one. That said, I’d now like to take the opportunity to examine what appears to be a well run program, the X-47B unmanned carrier aircraft. It’s as if someone in Navy leadership looked at all the mistakes of the LCS/LPD/JSF and decided not to repeat them!
To summarize briefly, the X-47B is the first step in development of an unmanned and largely autonomous carrier aircraft capable of surveillance, strike, and perhaps someday aerial combat. It's been referred to as the UCAV or UCLASS for those more familiar with those abbreviations.
|X-47B - Doing It The Right Way|
Refreshingly, the X-47B program is not being overhyped and oversold. Its goals are not magical, fantasy wish lists that can never happen but, instead, are short term, achievable goals that will eventually lead to the desired end product. Even in the worst case, if it turns out that the ultimate X-47B functionality can’t be achieved, the Navy will not have mortgaged a third of its aerial combat power. Nothing will have been lost or wasted except for a relatively small amount of research funding.
I tell you, it feels good to be able to praise a Navy program. Sadly, I have no idea who’s responsible for this mature and common sense approach but they deserve some recognition. Honestly, this is the best run program in the Navy by a wide margin.