12:00 AM, November 6, 2012
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The U.S Navy is likely to issue a draft request for proposal (RFP) for its nascent unmanned carrier-launched surveillance and strike (UCLASS) aircraft programme before the end of 2012. "The draft RFP is scheduled for release before the end of the year," the Navy said in a statement. The Navy hopes to induct the new aircraft by 2020 and will use about half-dozen aircraft to with a carrier air wing by that date, but the unit would not necessarily deploy with the ship. Earlier reports indicated that the aircraft will be designed primarily for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance role, but would have a significant strike capability. The aircraft would be designed to be rapidly upgraded over time with new sensors, weapons and even new stealth edges and coatings, according to navy officials.
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