skip to main content

Pentagon seeks industry input on drone-based tactical resupply concept

The US Department of Defense is soliciting industry proposals for a new aerial drone-based tactical resupply platform to support Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) sized formations engaged in multi-domain operations.

Industry submissions for the Joint Tactical Autonomous Aerial Resupply System (JTAARS) will be based on a Group 3 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability. With a notional maximum gross take-off weight of less than 598 kg, the JTAARS UAS must be able to transport a cargo load up to a maximum of 363 kg across a 177 km radius, according to the updated request for information (RFI) issued on 2 February.

The proposed JTAARS aerial vehicles, officially categorised as a Unmanned Logistics Systems – Air (ULS-A) Medium, will be controlled via a beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) tactical command and control (C2) system operated by a “common handheld ground monitoring and control station”, the RFI stated. The system will be required to meet all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations and meet a maturity threshold of Technology Readiness Level 6 (TRL 6) to be considered for the programme, the solicitation added.

While platform proposals will be geared to support IBCT-level operations, programme officials also anticipate fielding and deploying a JTAARS system in support of US Marine Corps formations. That said the system’s eventual C2 station “must be able to be integrated into current and future tactical C2 systems” at the Regiment level for the Marine Corps and Brigade Combat Team (BCT) for army units, the solicitation stated. Service officials anticipate the first units to be equipped with an operational JTAARS system within the 2026 timeframe, it added.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...