in size to the Marine Corps’ RQ- 7
Shadow — a weapon to support special operations forces.
Kurt Klingenbell, an official with
the Special Surveillance Programs
office of the Naval Air Warfare
Center (NAWC) in Patuxent River,
Md., declined to reveal details of
the Blacktip, a model of which was
on display at the AUVSI exposition
An earlier precision-attack weapon, the Remora, also has been
developed for the Tiger Shark, but
no details were available.
The Tiger Shark was developed by
a team of the NAWC and NAVMAR
Applied Sciences (Lexington Park,
Md.) and manufactured by BAI, a
company bought by L3 Systems that
completed the production run. A
total of 68 Tiger Sharks were built,
according to Ken Cass, senior manager of UAV programs at L3 Systems.
The Tiger Shark, a twin-tailed UAV with electro-optical and infrared sensors, a synthetic-aperture
radar, signals intelligence receiver and communications jammer, has been used operationally by U.S.
Special Operations Command, the Joint IED Defeat
Organization and the Counter-Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office. The Tiger Shark has been
deployed to Afghanistan since 2005 by contractor
teams led by Navy Reserve officers, according to Doug
Abbotts, spokesman for the NAWC. The UAV has
been used for convoy escort, preraid and raid support,
ISR and IED reconnaissance.
A ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle launches from the flight deck aboard the
dock landing ship USS Comstock, underway in the Pacific Ocean Feb. 24. The
ScanEagle provided surveillance, reconnaissance data and battlefield damage
assessment missions for Comstock while supporting maritime security operations
and close air support missions in the U.S. Seventh Fleet’s area of responsibility.
(BAMS) system most likely will be deployed first to
U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility (AOR).
Capt. Jim Hoke, the Navy’s BAMS program manager,
told reporters at the AUVSI exposition Aug. 17 that the
Navy will establish BAMS home bases at Naval Air Station
(NAS) Jacksonville, Fla., and NAS Whidbey Island,
Wash. While surveillance orbits will be flown from those
bases, forward orbits also will be flown from Beale Air
Force Base (AFB), Calif.; Andersen AFB, Guam; NAS
Sigonella, Sicily; and a base in the Central Command
AOR. Under an agreement with the Air Force, the two
services will share basing, maintenance, training, logistics, and data processing, exploitation and dissemination.
Hoke said the MQ-4C would succeed the Navy’s RQ-
4A BAMS demonstrator currently deployed in Southwest
Asia. The Navy’s two RQ-4As have alternated deployments to the region from NAS Patuxent River, Md. The
deployed RQ-4A flies a mission every three days, he said.
This year, the Air Force transferred three of its now-retired Block 10 RQ-4A Global Hawks — replaced by
Block 30 versions — to the Navy as a spare parts
resource to keep its two RQ-4As flying until the MQ-
4C enters service. Two other Block 10s were transferred to the National Air and Space Administration,
with another two retired to museums.
Blacktips for the Tiger Shark
The Navy is developing a precision-attack munition for
its Tiger Shark UAVs. The small glide bomb, the Blacktip,
is designed to provide the Tiger Shark — which is similar
UCAS-D Aerial Refueling Demo Detailed
The Navy has revealed some details of its plans to conduct a demonstration of the aerial refueling capability of
the Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air
System-Demonstration (UCAS-D) UAS.
Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the Navy’s UCAS program manager, speaking to reporters Aug. 17, said the second X-
47B will be used to demonstrate the technology in 2014.
The X-47B will participate in test flights joining up
with both an Air Force KC-135 tanker — to test the X-
47’s refueling from a boom-equipped tanker — and an
Omega Aerial Refueling Services Boeing 707 tanker,
which uses a Navy-style probe-and-drogue system.
Each tanker will be equipped with a palletized avionics set, including a Rockwell Collins data link, to permit
a data link exchange that will enable the UAS to rendezvous and join up with the tankers. ■