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Monday, February 1, 2010

Gates orders Air Force and Navy to study joint weapons system

In the weapons field, the QDR talks of expanding the capability of a new Virginia-class nuclear submarine with long-range cruise missiles, and of pressing ahead with the Navy's unmanned combat aerial system, being worked on jointly with the Air Force. The latter is a fighter-size, carrier-launched unmanned vehicle that can be refueled in flight. It would provide intelligence and go on strike missions before returning to the carrier. The goal is to begin flight testing this year and get delivery of the first operational unit in 2015.
Studies are looking also at defensive and offensive advances in the electronic warfare field to protect U.S. weapons systems and disable those of enemies, in space, air or on land. The QDR says that "to counter the spread of advanced surveillance, air defense and strike systems, the department has directed increased investment in selected capabilities for electronic attack."

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