Aerospace Daily reports the Navy has delayed the first flight of its Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) in order to investigate “anomalies” in the system’s performance. The current delay probably won’t last long, but the program is facing the prospect of much longer delays if some skeptics in the service have their way. A few key players in OpNav believe technology for the program is immature, and that funding should be deferred until midway through the next decade when the technology is further developed. That sounds like a bad idea: the possibility of fielding a long-endurance, highly survivable unmanned combat aircraft sooner rather than later could solve some crucial problems facing the service, not the least of which is the growing threat to aircraft carriers from Chinese ballistic missiles.
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