The Army has chosen Textron Systems [TXT] and Griffon Aerospace to move forward in the Future Tactical UAS (FTUAS) Inc. 2 program to find a Shadow drone replacement, the service announced on Tuesday.
Northrop Grumman [NOC] and Sierra Nevada Corporation, who were also participating in the FTUAS Inc. 2 effort, were not selected for the second option period of the prototyping program.
The Army in February announced the five firms were selected for the prototyping effort to inform FTUAS, with each working under agreements potentially ranging from $1 million to $25 million based on how far each vendor “progresses through the base and option periods” (Defense Daily, Feb. 28).
The first agreement option period for FTUAS Inc. 2 culminated in a preliminary design review and involved evaluating the firms’ designs against requirements of performance, Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA), cost, schedule, risk, and key Program Executive Office, Aviation and Army priorities,” the service said.
Griffon Aerospace and Textron’s work on the second period of FTUAS Inc. 2 will lead up to a critical design review (CDR), according to the Army, “which will establish the final system design and initial product baseline.”
“Following the CDR, the remaining [vendors] will participate in flight demonstrations and MOSA third-party verification in the third agreement option period before delivering production representative weapon systems and support equipment for developmental testing and operational demonstrations with soldier touch points in a subsequent agreement option period,” the Army said. These systems will undergo numerous evaluation activities such as environmental testing, electromagnetic environmental effects testing, transportability testing, MOSA verification, flight testing, and Technical Manual verification conducted at [industry] and government facilities.”
Textron is offering its Aerosonde Mk. 4.8 Hybrid Quad UAS and Griffon Aerospace is offering its Valiant drone platform for the FTUAS program.
The Army has said FTUAS aims to replace the legacy Shadow drone, also built by Textron, with a “vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), runway-independent, reduced acoustic signature aircraft that can be transported organically while providing commanders with ‘on the move’ reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition capabilities.