22 October 2018
Aerospace America reported that the deadline is approaching for companies to submit bids for a US Army-led “Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems” competition for “runway independent” UAVs slated to begin test flights in 2020. The deadline for responses to the request for proposals is October 29. The Army and Special Operations Command currently operate “hundreds of unmanned, RQ-7 Shadow aircraft, each weighing around 200 kilograms.” These aircraft must stay “within range of a runway, a limiting factor that the Army-led Future Vertical Lift program, which manages a wide range of research, wants to overcome with a new generation of aircraft.” Army Lt. Col. Matt Isaacson explained that the military wants smaller, lighter aircraft “that a unit can easily take with them and don’t require a lot of support equipment.” The Army plans to acquire two aircraft from “three vendors for a total of six unmanned aircraft that would be flown in 2020” under a “buy, try, decide” procurement model. (Image: Textron System's X5-55 drone on display at the AUSA 2018 meeting. Credit: Aerospace America)
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