AUSA NEWS: Textron Bidding Aerosonde for Future Tactical Drone Program
Textron Methods photograph
Textron Methods is bidding a next-generation model of its Aerosonde hybrid quadrotor drone for the Military’s extremely anticipated future tactical unmanned aerial system program, an organization govt mentioned forward of the Affiliation of the USA Military’s annual convention.
The corporate is planning to bid an upgraded model of its Aerosonde HQ platform — which incorporates a runway-independent configuration that makes use of a hybrid quadrotor for vertical takeoff and touchdown — that has been extensively utilized by the navy, mentioned Wayne Prender, senior vp for air techniques at Textron.
This new model has been “designed with soldier suggestions and displays on our intimate understanding of how these techniques are utilized,” Prender mentioned Oct. 6 throughout a media name with reporters.
The Future Tactical UAS program is supposed to switch the Military’s RQ-7B Shadow — which is constructed by Textron — in its floor maneuver fight groups. The system might be a low- to medium-altitude plane with trendy information hyperlinks, electro-optical/infrared sensors, information encryption, manned-unmanned teaming capabilities and the flexibility to function autonomously, in accordance with the Military’s program govt workplace for aviation.
The Military is pursuing two pathways for the techniques, generally known as Increment 1 and Increment 2. Textron plans to supply its legacy Aerosonde — which has greater than 500,000 hours of fight operations underneath its belt — for Increment 1 and its next-generation model for Increment 2.
Textron was notified lately that it was a specific as certified bidder by the Military to submit bids for this system, Prender mentioned. Proposals for Increment 1 are due Oct. 15 and an award is anticipated in January 2022. Increment 2 bids are due Oct. 22, with an award anticipated for June 2022, he added.
“Increment 1’s scope is to ship a prototype system that may undergo analysis. Upon profitable analysis of that system, they count on to obtain eight techniques that might be delivered and launched into the Brigade Fight Groups,” he mentioned. “Increment 2 will run for roughly two years and that system is meant to be the total program of report and ship …  techniques for the Brigade Fight Groups and different items.”
In response to a Textron white paper, the Aerosonde hybrid quad — which has been operated in a fee-for-service enterprise mannequin — has an endurance of 10 hours with a number of digital warfare and communications relay payloads and an air pace of 45 to 65 knots. Naval Air Methods Command, Particular Operations Command and the Air Pressure have used the product underneath such a mannequin, Prender mentioned.
“These contract automobiles enable us to function in quite a lot of austere, actual world, mission-centric places,” he mentioned. “It has knowledgeable our reliability. It has knowledgeable our sturdiness. … [It has] pushed down the fee and elevated the efficiencies by which our system will be operated.”
The subsequent-generation Aerosonde will function a number of enhancements — included elevated payload capability, endurance and plane efficiency — knowledgeable by soldier suggestions. Nevertheless, Prender declined to share particular particulars, citing the aggressive nature of the FTUAS program.
“This new model is a scaled-up model of our present platform and goes to supply the Military elevated efficiency and progress for his or her goal program of report,” he mentioned.
Aerosonde was constructed with ease of use in thoughts, he mentioned.
“Our system requires no fingers or stands for launch and restoration,” he mentioned. “You merely set it up, get out of the best way, push a button, and the system takes off vertically, transitions to flight and strikes off to execute its mission. That permits us to attenuate the variety of troopers and operators that we’d like, driving down not solely the scale of the gear for future tactical UAS, but additionally driving down the manpower required to function the system.”
The plane will use the usual jet propellant 8 gas the Military already employs, he famous. Moreover, will probably be transportable through Chinook, Black Hawks and floor automobiles such because the Humvee and joint mild tactical automobile.
That is “driving down the logistics footprint and growing the agility at which our system will be employed,” he added.
Prender famous that Textron took half in what he known as a “purchase, fly and inform” effort led by the Military to collect soldier suggestions on the Aerosonde platform and different distributors’ techniques. Plane have been put within the fingers of troops and operated in number of eventualities at places equivalent to Fort Polk, Oklahoma; Yakima Coaching Middle, Washington; and Fort Benning, Georgia, throughout the Future Tactical Unmanned Plane System Rodeo earlier this yr.
As of press time, the Military had not disclosed which different firms have been chosen as certified bidders for the FTUAS program to Nationwide Protection.
Matters: Robotics, Robotics and Autonomous Methods, Military Information