The US Navy has revealed plans to delay the competition for new carrier-based unmanned strike and surveillance aircraft until after the completion of a comprehensive review of requirements for the fiscal year 2016.
Navy deputy assistant secretary for budget rear admiral William Lescher was quoted by Reuters as saying that the target for early operational deployment of the new unmanned planes has been delayed until 2022 or 2023.
The competition for an unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance strike programme was scheduled to start last year, but was delayed because of affordability concerns, as well as a Pentagon-wide assessment of intelligence and surveillance programmes.
In its latest budget proposal, the US Department of Defence has requested $161bn for the navy / marine corps, which accounts for 30.1% of overall funding.
Companies expected to take part in the programme include Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and the privately held General Atomics.