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AUSA 2021: Textron Systems, L3Harris bid for FTUAS

Textron Systems' Aerosonde Hybrid Quadrotor UAV that the company is bidding for FTUAS Increment 2. The company is offering a scaled-up version of the aircraft for Increment 2. (Textron Systems)

Textron Systems and L3Harris are bidding for both increments in the US Army's Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) programme.

Wayne Prender, senior vice-president of air systems at Textron Systems, told reporters on 6 October, ahead of the Association of the United States Army's (AUSA's) annual convention, that the company is offering its standard Aerosonde Hybrid Quadrotor (HQ) small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for Increment 1, and a scaled-up version of the aircraft that will be on display at AUSA for Increment 2. The service is taking a two-pronged parallel approach to FTUAS, and is using Increment 1 for an accelerated fielding capability of mature technologies.

Increment 1 will meet the present operational need and replace the Textron Systems Unmanned Systems RQ-7B Shadow tactical UAS within some of the US Army's brigade combat teams (BCTs). US Army spokesman David Hylton said on 6 October that Increment 2 will satisfy the full FTUAS requirement and will replace Increment 1 fielded systems in fulfilling the BCT fleet requirement.

L3Harris will offer its FVR-90 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) hybrid quadcopter UAS for both Increment 1 and Increment 2, company spokesperson Sandra Phanourath said on 7 October. She declined further comments.

Prender said this scaled-up Aerosonde HQ will have a larger gross take-off weight, more payload capacity, and the ability to handle newer and more advanced payloads. The company was told from the FTUAS “buy, try, and inform” phase that the system needed to grow a bit, he added.

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