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Industry Awaits Navy Decisions on 3 Major Fleet Programs

U.S. NavyThe U.S. Navy has yet to release plans for its future Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike, Small Surface Combatant and Littoral Combat Ship platforms, Defense News reported Sunday.

Christopher Cavas writes the service postponed a final UCLASS solicitation at the end of summer pending a review of the U.S. military’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance portfolio.

Pentagon officials have also been discussing whether the drone should primarily have a strike, an ISR or a multimission capability, according to Cavas’ article.

The UCLASS program’s contenders are Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

Defense News reports the shipbuilding industry is awaiting an announcement on how the branch intends to develop a heavily-armed combat vessel to succeed the LCS.

The Navy stays mum on the recommendations made by a task force that reviewed the SSC program, but a prior memo from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directs the branch to consider a new design or a variant of the two existing LCS classes, according to the publication.

According to Cavas’ article, the branch also faces decision regarding the development of eight additional LCS units before proceeding with the SSC program.

Bryan Clark, analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said the Navy is considering shifting from a three-for-two rotational crew model to a single-crew LCS, which could be applied to the future SSC fleet, according to Defense News.

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