The US Marine Corps recently purchased 800 quadcopter drones, with the intent to deploy them to every squad in the Corps. They have been shipping them out to squads at the rate of 200 a month. But according to Fox News, they are planning even more lethal mega-drones called the MUX (Marine Air Ground Task Force Unmanned Aircraft System-Expeditionary). This one would be an aircraft sized killer that could deliver heavy firepower and not even need a runway…a drone that could “think” for itself.
Textron, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and even Boeing are expected to enter the competition to develop the drone, although actual deployment is perhaps decaeds away, maybe in 2034. MotleyFool.com, an investment site reported,
“The MUX as envisioned by the Pentagon would rival the F-35 and other fighters in many combat situations, able to fly at least 700 nautical miles while fully loaded with a payload of 9,500 pounds and flying at 400 mph. The Marines want the MUX to carry a range of weapons including Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and laser-guided rockets, and to have the ability to host and launch mini-drones in-flight.
The Marines want the MUX operating from a land-based takeoff system by 2025, toward a goal of having the craft fully operational by 2034. The MUX should eventually be able to launch vertically from warships, receive mid-air refueling, and fly both as companions to manned aircraft in a combat situation or be used for electronic warfare, reconnaissance, or for command-and-control support.”
They would like it to also carry a small drone that could be used for electronic warfare purposes. And maybe small bombs. And they want it to be able to think on its own. It should be able to provide armed escorts for the MV-22 Ospreys while they transport Marines. Or provide close air support for troops on the ground. It could also be armed escorts for ships or other aircraft.
It could be deployed ahead of a force to scout out threats. Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) missions would be on its resume as well.
Some of the technology required for the MUX may need to be developed more, as the ability to think on its own could be somewhat like an AI type of technology. It’s a tall order, but rest assured, these drones will be totally lethal. Perfect for the United States Marines.
Featured photo: Lockheed Martin’s ARES Drone – artist’s concept