Of course not! A closer look reveals that the Navy uses their aircraft for specific tasks such as command, control and communication, early warning, persistent fires, escort, electronic warfare, reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition. In contrast, the Marine’s will use their aircraft – meaning the proposed MUX (a very large, unmanned, Group 5 (like the Reaper, Global Hawk, or Triton) UAV – for specific tasks such as command, control and communication, early warning, persistent fires, escort, electronic warfare, reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition. Whoa! I just had the strangest feeling that I just typed the same thing twice but I couldn’t have, could I, because the Navy and Marines have two different responsibilities, don’t they? Don’t they?
So why did I just type the exact same list of specific aircraft tasks for both services?
We know the Navy uses E-2 Hawkeyes, EA-18G Growlers, MQ-8C Fire Scouts, P-8 Poseidons, Triton UAVs, various helicopters, etc. to accomplish their specific aircraft taskings. Apparently, the Marines only need the MUX to accomplish the same thing.
The MUX program – formally the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Expeditionary – was meant to be a Group 5 UAS, the largest of the categories with highest altitude and greatest endurance. It would cover seven missions: command, control and communication; early warning; persistent fires; escort; electronic warfare; reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition … (1)
What’s more, the absence of the MUX is the only difference between a full-fledged carrier strike group and a Marine carrier strike group, formerly called a ARG/MEU ! I know, I was surprised to hear that, too, but here it is,
The MUX program was intended to help the Amphibious Ready Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU) team operate more like a carrier strike group. With the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter coming online at that time, the major gap between a carrier air wing’s capabilities and what the Marines could bring to the fight was an airborne early warning capability the Navy has in its E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. MUX would fill that role, the Marine Corps envisioned. (1)
The Commandant wants UAVs installed on his ships quickly.
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger wants to see UAVs on ships soon.
“In the next 10 years, the quickest way – the commandant wants to go quick on this – this quickest way will be some sort of land-based high-endurance that can be based and still be able to provide the surface force, the amphibious force the capabilities that we would call ‘quarterback,’ or some sort of node that can provide 24 hours on station time, it will have all the networking and early warning and electronic warfare capabilities that they require for that type of thing,” Rudder [Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Aviation Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder] said. (1)
The Commandant also wants his ships to be able to handle any UAV, at any time, to do anything.
“In the future, we have to get to a point where an aerial vehicle can take off of this ship, any ship, go do its mission, land on that ship over there. Change payloads, launch, do another mission, land on a third ship. We’re nowhere near that right now. We’ve got to get there,” he [Commandant Berger] said. (1)
Berger also plans to alter the Navy’s unmanned tanker, the MQ-25 Stingray, into a family of tankers.
He also said he wanted to spin off the Navy’s MQ-25A Stingray unmanned carrier-based tanker into a family of systems that included a UAV that could operate from an amphibious assault ship that hosts the F-35Bs. (1)
The Commandant is also going to develop unmanned ships for the Marine Corps navy.
… since Berger took command in July, the Marine Corps has proposed developing a Long-Range Unmanned Surface Vessel (LR-USV) to support the Expeditionary Advance Base Operations concept … (1)
So, there you have it – the Marine’s vision of their future fleet … uh, I mean the Navy’s vision of the … uh, I mean the Marine’s directives for the Navy’s vision … uh, I mean the Commandant’s direction for the Navy … uh, I don’t know what I mean. I’ll wait for the Commandant to tell me what I mean.
The Commandant is heavily invested in his own private air force and now, I guess, he’s turning his attention to his own private naval fleet. The Secretary of Defense or the President needs to severely rein in the Marines. They’re running amok, fueled by arrogance and budgetary desperation.
(1)USNI News website, “Marines Ditch MUX Ship-Based Drone to Pursue Large Land-Based UAS, Smaller Shipboard Vehicle”, Megan Eckstein, 10-Mar-2020,https://news.usni.org/2020/03/10/marines-ditch-mux-ship-based-drone-to-pursue-large-land-based-uas-smaller-shipboard-vehicle