The X-45N is dead; Long live the X-45!

Lots of angst has been spilled this week on the pages of the trade and mainstream press over the sad fate of the Boeing X-45N. This navalized variant certainly suffered a blow by losing the US Navy’s UCAS-D contract to its longtime rival — the Northrop Grumman X-47B.

But don’t fret. Multi-billion dollar military technology development programs never die. They just go black.

Besides, on August 2, Dyke Weatherington, DOD’s unmanned systems guru, confirmed that the X-45 technology will surely not go to waste. He noted that the USAF still wants a more robust stand-in jammer aircraft than the Raytheon Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer.

Sure enough, the air force’s budget justification documents this year include a “recoverable unmanned stand-in” platform as a “potential” component of a future airborne electronic attack architecture, which, I may add, is a very slick way to surreptiously resurrect the X-45C program that the air force cancelled nearly two years ago. Bravo!

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“I like to call it a ‘stand-on’ jammer” (Source: Boeing)

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