7 Jan 2015 By: Stephen Trimble - FG
Washington DC - The US Navy has decided to embed its future unmanned surveillance and strike aircraft in the same air wing that operates the Northrop Grumman E-2C/D, an airborne command and control platform.
The decision settles a philosophical debate within the navy over who should have command over the unmanned carrier launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) aircraft during operations.
Options under review as late as August included operating UCLASS aircraft as a standalone unit, as a detachment to a wing of Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters or as a detachment to a wing that includes the E-2C/D.
Naval officials quietly announced their decision in a little-noticed directive released last month. That notice, dated 18 December, says a new UCLASS unit called the “fleet introduction team” will be established on 1 October.