Aviation Week : Deepwater Issues Extend to Aircraft

Mike Bruno of Aviation Week reports:

Development issues under the U.S. Coast Guard’s massive Deepwater program have extended to aircraft, with plans for a vertical takeoff-and-landing unmanned aerial vehicle (VUAV) now getting pushed back to the middle of next decade while the service eyes land-based alternatives to bridge an urgent maritime patrol gap.

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.

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.

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