VTOL Advanced Reconnaissance Insertion Organic Unmanned System (VARIOUS), a concept of an advanced aerial recon- and support vehicle, is designed to support Special Forces and expeditionary units of marines, as an organic asset. In the next decade or later, VARIOS could assume the role envisioned for the FireScout, meeting a future naval requirement for a 3 – 4 ton ISR and close support vehicle that could vertically take off and land on an aircraft carrier, amphibious support ship or from land strips.
VARIOUS will carry our tactical reconnaissance and fire support missions, armed with an ISR package, automatic guns and missiles. The aerial vehicle is designed to be stealthy, and cooperate with manned and unmanned aerial systems and surface ships while operating autonomously. The aircraft will have a wing span of 28.5 ft, 22′ length is smaller than an F35 and will be capable of operating at long to medium range, carrying a multi-spectral ISR payload and about 450 lbs of internally carried ordnance to support ground operations (maximum payload will be 1,900lbs). The aircraft will operate at ceiling of up to 20,000′, flying at a maximum speed of 350 knots.
By using morphing wings, which will be able to change their camber or aspect ratio, VARIOUS will be able to cruising at a speed of 250 kt or loiter much slower over the target, maintaining a low speed of 160 kt to maximize endurance and persistence over a target area. Its vertical takeoff and landing will be provided by ducted fans embedded in the wings. VARIOUS will have some common elements shared with the Cormorant, another Skunk Works program designed to provide persistent, long range ISR and attack capabilities to US Navy Submarines. However, VARIOUS will is not positioned to compete with the F35 or unmanned combat aerial system (UCAS). The vehicle is currently in an early conceptual development phase and, if the program is pursued, VARIOUS could reach the flight demonstration phase by 2010.