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UK seeks new mini-UAS capability under Project Tiquila

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is seeking a system integrator to manage the delivery and sustainment of a new intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) mini-unmanned air system (MUAS) for field operations.

An invitation to negotiate (ITN) for the programme – known as Project Tiquila – was issued by the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation on 25 August. Twelve pre-qualified contractors have been invited to bid.

Project Tequila calls for the provision of both man-packable and man-portable ISTAR MUAS variants with electro-optical/infrared payloads operated from a common ground control station. The man-packable system is to weigh up to 8 kg (up to 4 kg maximum takeoff weight), while the man-portable MUAS will have a maximum takeoff weight of up to 20 kg.

Alongside the MUAS vehicles themselves, the scope of supply also encompasses a modular technical and digital architecture with open standards interfaces to enable the simple integration of new capabilities and upgrades to be incorporated into common base units.

DE&S disclosed in June that Babcock, BAE Systems, Elbit UK, General Dynamics, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin UK, Motorola Solutions, QinetiQ, PA Consulting, Raytheon UK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Thales had been shortlisted to receive the ITN for the role of Tiquila system integrator. Responses to the ITN are required no later than 26 October.

Initial funding of GBP149 million (USD204 million) has been approved for the planned 10-year contract; extensions to the volume and duration (up to 24 months) of the contract could potentially increase the value to GBP390 million.

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