The US Marines hope that when their V-22 Ospreys are airborne in 10 years, they will be escorted by a high-speed armed drone. The drone project, MUX (MAGTF Unmanned eXpeditionary) will be used as a temporary solution, until the FVL (Future Vertical Lift) project can take flight, replacing present helicopters with faster, manned VTOL aircraft.
They hope to get MUX operational by 2026, reports Breaking Defence. A manned escort for the Ospreys would take more time as they are required to conduct far more tests, such as life support systems and crew survivability. With an unmanned drone these tests aren’t necessary and can be used during the gap.
They aim to make the MUX capable of all that the Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper drone can do. This includes endurance of up to 20 hours, ISR, is equipped with sensors and armed with four 500 pound guided bombs and four AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
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