USA - Northrop Grumman X-47B
the X-47 project began as part of DARPA's J-UCAS program, and is now part of the United States Navy's UCAS-D (Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration) program, which aims to create a carrier-based unmanned aircraft.
The project was initially funded under a $635.8-million contract awarded by the Navy in 2007. However, by January 2012, the X-47B's total program cost had grown to an estimated $813 million.
X-47B test results will clear the way for the U.S. Navy to launch a fast-track Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (Uclass) program at a manageable level of technical risk.
The X-47B team will remain together through fiscal 2014 to analyze data and transfer lessons to other programs. Capt. Jaime Engdahl said after the launch that "we see direct opportunities for improving safety and effectiveness of operation for both manned and unmanned aircraft," while Winter commented that the Naval Air Warfare Center is looking at applications of the X-47B's landing guidance technology to manned aircraft.
The hardware used in the X-47B program is unique, but similar in principle to the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System being developed for all aircraft carriers to replace today's radar-based auto-land system. The latter is limited because of telltale radar emissions, an inability to handle more than one aircraft at a time, and because it will not work properly with the stealthy F-35.
- Aviation Week
USA - Boeing Phantom Ray
The Boeing Phantom Ray is an American demonstration stealth UCAV being developed by Boeing using company funds. The autonomous Phantom Ray is a flying wing around the size of a conventional fighter jet, and first flew in April 2011. It will conduct a program of test flights involving surveillance, ground attack and autonomous aerial refueling missions.
Russia - Mikoyan Skat
MiG's Skat unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) mockup, first of all, is not a copy of an X-45, X-47, Taranis, Neuron or anything else. So far, nobody's figured out how to make a UAV detect a threat in time to shoot back or evade it, so the only valid approach to survival is all-aspect stealth over the widest possible bandwidth, and an all-wing tailless configuration is still the best way to do that. That's why all UCAVs look like B-2s, because the B-2 design addressed the same problem.
Rather like Neuron, Skat appears to serve several purposes. It gives the designers a chance to integrate an all-new design. It demonstrates stealth and high-performance UAV technologies and explores the problems of internal weapon carriage (so that a production variant doesn't need to go through two bomb-door and tail designs, like the F-117 did). And it puts together a team that can go after manned or unmanned stealth if the requirement emerges.
Designed by the Russian firm Mikoyan, the Skat (Russian: Скат - "Manta Ray") is one of two concept strike UCAV currently being developed for the Russian Defense Ministry. It is a low-observable, subsonic craft meant to carry weapons in two ventral bays large enough for missiles such as the Kh-31. The SKAT is to be powered by a single Klimov RD-5000B turbofan engine, a variant of the RD-93.
Skat has two internal weapons bays, capable of carrying air-to-surface missiles as large as the Kh-31 (AS-17 Krytpon). Possible roles include the suppression and attack of enemy air defenses.The first version of Skat to fly is planned to be piloted in order to meet Russian flight regulations. A number of aerodynamic configurations have been wind-tunnel tested, including with small twin fins. MiG has settled on a tail-less configuration.
The single-engine subsonic design has an 11.5 meter wingspan, and it is 10.25 meters long. The UCAV has a maximum take-off weight of 10 tons, with a maximum speed of 800 kilometers per hour (497 mph) at low altitude. It is intended to carry a combat load of up to two tons, with a combat radius of 2,000 km.
- All about military
India - Aura
India's stealthy unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) program is taking shape, with the first images surfacing from the design optimization and concept definition phase.
The flying-wing concept, designated the Indian Unmanned Strike Air Vehicle (IUSAV), is a derivative of existing flying-wing UAVs such as the European Neuron and Boeing Phantom Ray. But in fresh indications coming from the Bengaluru-based team developing the platform, the IUSAV, code-named Aura, could see a first prototype flight by 2015-16, with deliveries by the end of the decade. Such timelines are ambitious— especially for a program involving technologies that India has never before attempted—but the Indian air force (IAF) and government decided to accord special funding and other support to keep the IUSAV on schedule. The director of the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), V.K. Saraswat, recently visited Sweden, where he is believed to have had discussions with Saab on India's unmanned efforts, including the IUSAV. Saraswat's presentation at the Aerospace Forum there—where he described the IUSAV as an "unmanned bomber"—also revealed that IUSAV program laboratories were pursuing development of radar-absorbent paint and materials, cool exhaust signatures for infrared suppression, conformal sensors and antennas, data links and flying-wing aerodynamics. His presentation also illustrated elaborate threat scenarios involving future combat air systems, which included not just the IUSAV but also an indigenous fifth-generation stealth fighter, the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, and the Indo-Russian fifth-generation fighter aircraft, or PAK FA.
Representatives from Dassault, Saab and BAE Systems say that all three companies are in discussions with the DRDO for possible technology partnerships in the IUSAV project. DRDO sources indicate that teams from the organization have been invited to visit facilities in France and the U.K., respectively, where the Neuron and BAE Taranis are being developed.
- Aviation Week