Feb 12, 2016
Pentagon Kills Its Killer Drone Fleet
The Defense Department’s budget proposal for 2017, released on Feb. 9, terminates an on-again, off-again program dating back to the late 1990s that aimed to develop a bomb-hauling robotic jet capable of launching from and landing on the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers.
The decision to cancel the so-called Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike is reflected in the Defense Department’s 2017 budget proposal, released on Feb. 9. The proposal shows a combined $818 million in funding for the UCLASS killer drone program in 2015 and 2016 and, abruptly, no money at all in 2017.
Instead, there’s a new budget line for 2017—a meager $89 million for a so-called “Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System.” In other words: Goodbye, drone death from above. Hello, flying robot gas stations.