File photo – 2.75 inch high explosive rocket fires during the close air support drilling of a UH-1Y Venom helicopter in Ban Chan Khrem, Thailand, Feb. 21, 2018. (U. S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andy Martinez)
Armed to the teeth with an array of powerful, destructive weapons, a incredible think drone – one that can carry out missions on its own, without a man can soon hit the air to keep Marines safe.
The marine Corps is focused on building of a revolutionary drone called MUX (Marine Air Ground Task Force’s Unmanned Aircraft System-Expeditionary).
MUX will terrify the enemies of the United States. And with good reason. MUX is not only the great and powerful – it is ultra-slim. This can be a heavily armed drone that can by itself fly itself, avoid obstacles by itself, to adapt themselves and the land itself, without a man to guide them.
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As goals are achieved, the MUX will be a drone that can really run vital missions themselves. Sure, it can be an eye in the sky, but it could carry all the same weapons as the F-35B variant of the advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter, the F-35.
File photo A UH-1Y Venom assigned to the “Weapons” of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 369, approaches the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).
(U. S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary DiPadova/Released)
Earlier this month, the Marines, by laying down the gauntlet to the industry, the construction of the MUX, which is a detailed list of the remarkable capabilities. Here is a look at what the Corps expected for MUX.
Ground-Breaking Base Functionality
It is intended that MUX to fit on a ship with a similar footprint to a UH-1Y Venom helicopter. When it is launched for a mission, it will be able to take off vertically, fly for a radius of up to 700 nautical miles and wear of 9500 pounds.
For extending the time in the air, the MUX will be able to be refueled in the air by another plane. In the air, it can reach a height of 30,000 feet.
The MUX will not need a formal job or landing zone country. This gives the marine Corps a lot more flexibility. For example, if the MUX is sent to critical supplies of ammunition, food and medical suppliers on a hard-to-reach forward operating base with hard surface – the MUX will still be able to land to deliver the supplies.
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Armed With a Devastating Arsenal
The Corps is looking to MUX wearing a dizzying array of weapons.
For attacks on ground targets, the MUX could carry AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface rockets; advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS) laser-guided missile and the AGM-88TH Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM).
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To eliminate enemy aircraft threats, the MUX could carry AIM-9X air-to-air missiles and the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
File photo, MV-22B Ospreys with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command take off after unloading Marines at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre (KASOTC) as part of a long-distance quick reaction force exercise on February 26-27, 2018.
(Photo by 1st Lt. Bryan McDonnell)
MUXes may also be small-diameter bombs, and another, much smaller drone on board. It is possible this small drone can be deployed as an electronic warfare weapon, loaded with explosive possibilities as other precision strike option, or be used to provide additional in-depth data collection on the enemy.
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So how would the MUX to use that hardcore arsenal of weapons?
Keep in mind, these are super smart drones who “think” for themselves. Crucially, the MUXes will be able to fly as the armed escorts and the MV-22 Ospreys as they carry the Marines from the ship to the combat zone.
The iconic looking Osprey helicopter is often used for the transport of troops. It can carry around 22 Marines and 2 air crew fully loaded with their combat gear. Thanks to the revolutionary design, the Osprey can shift out of a helicopter-style vertical lift to fly like a plane, that allows them to hit the speed of 270 knots.
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We can expect that the MUXes will be able to hit at least the Osprey high speeds.
File photo – A U.S. Marine AH-1Z “Viper” with Marine Light Attack Helicopter 369 Squadron flies next to a UH-1Y Venom at Ban Chan Khrem, Thailand, Feb. 21, 2018.
(U. S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Andy Martinez)
They will also be able to provide armed escorts to assist in the protection of other aircraft, ships and even the aircraft carrier of threats.
Probably a man, in the course of the short-term, the MUX will be able to offensive air support missions, such as targeting and launching attacks on enemy fighters, strongholds and arsenal.
Scouting, Recon, Surveillance and Intel Missions
In more of a scout role, the MUX can provide an early warning to the American armed forces. Travel in advance of the force, the MUX can spot threats, collects the data and sends the information back. Early warning can spoil an enemy is planning to surprise and kill American troops on the ground.
Drones are often associated with a “spying” mission. MUXes will also be able to have an eye in the sky providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR.
If the marine Corps were mounting an attack, then a MUX could travel to the target and loiter in order to ensure a constant real-time image back to the Marines.
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Another MUX can then arrange for an armed escort to protect the Eagles fly the Marines from the ship or from the base to the target area. When Marines are injured and need to be MEDEVACed care, then this MUX would also be armed protection for a safe return.
Both the MUXes can also make use of their deep arsenal to provide close air support to the Marines on the ground.
Electronic Warfare Missions
The MUX will also be able to conduct electronic warfare missions. An example would fly in the advance of the AMERICAN troops and jamming all enemy aircraft, so that by the time the human forces of the enemy cannot communicate with each other.
MUX can also be more mundane, but valuable functions such as communications relay and the transportation of cargo.
What Will COMMUNICATIONS look like?
The Corps has yet to choose a winning design. But we can take a look at a few companies with advanced capabilities that can be customized to meet the specific COMMUNICATIONS requirements to get an idea.
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Three of the most notable are Vigilant, ARES and TERNS. All three feature a very futuristic looks: Bell’s V-247 Vigilant is a tilt rotor aircraft, Lockheed Martin’s ARES has a twin-led design and Northrop Grumman’s TERN combines stubby wings and propellers on the nose.
When Will MUX to be Created?
Currently, the Corps strives to the first MUX is operational in approximately seven years. This first version would be the land based. The hope is that the sea-based MUX that can vertically take off and land on ships ready for 2028 – within 10 years.
A fully operational fleet of this armed-to-the-teeth flying giants is expected by 2034.
Allison Barrie is a defense specialist with experience in more than 70 countries, who recommends the highest level of defence and national security, a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees, and author of the definitive guide, Future Weapons: Access Granted, to purchase, in 30 countries. Barrie hosts the new hit podcast “Tactical Talk”, where she gives listeners a direct access to the most fascinating of the Special Operations warriors each week and to learn more about the FOX Firepower host and columnist, click here or follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie and Instagram @allisonbarriehq.