Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow James Hasik writes for Real Clear Defense on why the US Navy needs its Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike program: 

This week, Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute assailed the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) project as “unmanageable.” The problem, he argues, is that while the new, less ambitious technical requirements for UCLASS will produce a less expensive aircraft, they will produce a less capable one as well. Such a plane, he believes, will be no bargain, for in an era of constrained budgets, “spending billions of dollars on an ill-defined program just to have a carrier-based drone is a dubious proposition.”

After reading that, I wondered if we were thinking of the same UCLASS program. Didn’t I just see a prototype running cats-and-traps alongside an F-18E on the Theodore Roosevelt? For I find the Navy’s carrier drone project—as it is conceived now—to be a very practical and sensible idea, for five separate reasons:

Read the full article here.

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