Missile defense creates role for aircraft with U-2 performance

June 29, 2017


A missile defence role is emerging after 2023 for an unmanned air system (UAS) with the payload and range capability of today’s manned Lockheed Martin U-2S.

The US Missile Defense Agency has released specifications for its next top priority: a high-altitude, long-endurance UAS that uses a high-energy laser weapon to shoot down ballistic missiles within seconds of launching.

But the MDA’s performance requirements appear to rule out any known UAS in existence, including all versions of the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk.

In particular, the MDA’s request for information dated 13 June call for an aircraft that can carry at least 2,270kg (5,000lb) of payload and as much as 5,440kg (12,500lb) at altitudes higher than 63,000ft…

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