ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Navy is installing control centers for unmanned aerial vehicles on its aircraft carriers as the ships go through overhauls and maintenance periods, a Navy official said.
Capt. Chuck Ehnes, the Navy’s program manager for in-service aircraft carriers, speaking Jan.16 at the Surface Navy Association gathering here, said the Unmanned Aviation Warfare Centers (UAWCs) are being installed to operate the MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial tanker and any follow-on UAVs the Navy plans to operate from its aircraft carriers.
Ehnes said the UAWC is one of several phased modernizations being conducted on the carriers in service to upgrade their warfighting capabilities.
Over time, carriers are receiving numerous modifications to prepare to operate the F-35C Lightning II strike fighter, the CMV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor carrier onboard delivery aircraft and the MQ-25. The carriers also are receiving additive manufacturing labs and upgraded cybersecurity.
Ehnes said the carriers also are receiving the Distance Communication and Maintenance System (DCoMs), a remote conferencing system that will enable Sailors to discuss maintenance issues with technical experts ashore. He compared the new DCoMs to a telemedicine system will be a “potential game-changer” in reducing the need for tech assist visits and the dispatching of repair teams.