From Michael Bruno of Aerospace Daily and Defense Report at Aviation Week, we learn that Peter's prognosticating was correct: the Coast Guard is putting shipboard UAVs on the very slow track, waiting for at least a decade to see "where the industry is."
Capt. Michael Anderson, Deepwater program manager, said Coast Guard officials now are looking at 2014-17 to roll out a VUAV aboard planned National Security Cutters (NSCs) and other patrol ships. At that time "we'll see where the industry is," he said.I also didn't see the CG pursuing land-based UAVs.
That compares with ambitious goals held as recently as a year ago to provide one of Bell Helicopter Textron's Eagle Eye tiltrotor VUAVs by this August along with the first planned NSC. Otherwise, the first VUAV was supposed to be delivered to the Coast Guard for developmental testing and evaluation in 2008.
Anderson told a group of legislative aides on Capitol Hill May 18 that officials now are eyeing proven land-based UAV alternatives to make up for the lack of sea-based VUAVs in the immediate future.There's going to need to be a solution as Mr. Bruno notes that the Coast Guard is not going to meet its maritime patrol aircraft requirements for nearly a decade. Ouch.
Hat tip to John over at Coast Guard News.