Heavily-Armed Mega-Drone Being Developed for US Marines Will Devastate Enemy Forces
The Marine Corps has been working on acquiring a mega-drone, called the Marine Air Ground Task Force Unmanned Aircraft System-Expeditionary, or MUX for short. The drone won’t just be substantial in size; it will also be incredibly powerful and exceptionally capable based on its ability to function without a remote human pilot, making it almost completely autonomous.
The MUX, according to a report by Fox News, won’t just have the ability to take off and land by itself, but also avoid obstacles and adapt to the terrain, all without direct instruction from a human pilot.
Essentially, if the project goals are attained, the MUX will be capable of running a variety of missions all on its own. However, being able to perform as an armed escort for Ospreys is a known priority.
Additionally, the MUX will be able to carry the same weapons as an F-35B, a version of the5th generation stealth fighter, the F-35. Some of the potential weaponry includes the AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile, AIM-9X and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM), and the advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS), a laser-guided rocket.
Small diameter bombs may also be an option, as well as smaller drones that could be deployed from the MUX.
The Marine Corps provided a detailed list of desired capabilities earlier this month, challenging the industry to meet their needs.
The hope is that the MUX will have a footprint that is similar to the UH-1Y Venom helicopter and the ability to be refueled while in flight.
It will possess vertical takeoff capabilities, have a radius of up to 700 nautical miles, be able to reach heights of 30,000 feet, and carry 9,500 pounds.
The winning design for the MUX has yet to be selected by the Marine Corps, so it still isn’t clear what the final design will look like.
At this time, the Marine Corps hopes to have an operational land-based MUX in approximately seven years. A sea-based version is also desired, with the hope that it will be ready by 2028.