The US Army is planning to hold a full and open competition for its Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (FTUAS) programme, with a request for information (RFI) expected to be released in the next few months.
Major John Holcomb, Programme Executive Office (PEO) Aviation, FTUAS assistant product manager, said on 9 September that this competition would not be limited to the four companies participating in the current FTUAS capabilities assessment, which are Martin UAV-Northrop Grumman Technology Services (NGTS), Textron, L3Harris, and Arcturus UAV.
The Martin UAV-Northrop Grumman Technology Services V-Bat is the only aircraft in FTUAS that does not use four rotors for vertical lift. (Persistent Systems)
Maj Holcomb said the US Army will go to the Army Requirements Oversight Council (AROC) for an approved requirement after it releases its RFI. Once that requirement is approved, the service will have a programme of record and will be able to start procuring systems.
The goal, Maj Holcomb said, is to have some competitive prototyping and integration with an engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) effort.
“I want you to bring the best flying aircraft you can with all those…built-in sustainability and maintainability aspects,” Maj Holcomb said at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) defence conference. “Then we can work together on the kind of integration of these mission equipment and payloads (for) what we need to go toward in the future.”
Casey Still, Tactical UAS chief engineer, said on 9 September that the US Army is looking for industry solutions in four technical areas. One is a microatomic clock or a microatomic clock timing solution. The US Army wants to make sure it has solutions for when the Global Positioning System (GPS) is denied or has performance issues.