DARPA’s joint unmanned combat air systems (J-UCAS), with the Boeing X-45 for the US Air Force and the Northrop Grumman X-47B for the US Navy, died in 2005.
The USAF kept the program on life support for one year, but the USN split off to launch a carrier-landing demonstration program (UCAS-D), eventually re-selecting the X-47B over the X-45.
In my interview yesterday with the UCAS-D program manager, Capt Martin Deppe, I found out the J-UCAS partners are back at the table.
The USAF and the USN are in discussions “on getting some air force presence in the navy program offices so they can better understand what we’re doing,” Deppe says. “In return, we can understand what the air force is doing. I think that’s going to be the beginning of a nice partnering relationship because we both have similar requirements in some regards for systems like these.”
The partnership does not include USAF funding at this point, Deppe says, but “it all begins with getting together and starting to talk and find out what the synergies are. Who knows where it goes from there.”