U.S. Army Advances FTUAS Program with Key Contributions from Griffon Aerospace and Textron Systems

The U.S. Army has announced the continuation of its Future Tactical Uncrewed Aircraft System (FTUAS) Rapid Prototyping Program, awarding Options 3 and 4 to Griffon Aerospace and Textron Systems. This marks a significant development in the program, which has previously undergone rigorous evaluations focusing on system performance, cost, schedule, and alignment with the Army’s strategic priorities.

Textron Systems Aerosonde 4.8 HQ UAS

The program’s initial phase, Option 1, involved a Preliminary Design Review that assessed weapon system designs from all vendors. This was followed by Option 2, which included a Critical Design Review to establish the prototypes’ baseline specifications, ensuring the systems met the Army’s requirements for modular design and cost efficiency.

Wayne Prender, Textron Systems Senior Vice President for Air Systems, emphasized the company’s readiness to leverage its extensive experience in UAS design and integration. “We are ready to build on Textron Systems’ decades of experience in UAS design, manufacturing, and systems integration by further advancing our FTUAS offering during program Options 3 and 4. Our mature ecosystem enables us to support the full lifecycle of the system and the Army’s mission requirements,” said Prender.

Option 3 involves comprehensive flight demonstrations and third-party verification of the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA), key for maintaining the systems’ adaptability. This phase also includes a Soldier touch point, assessing the system’s usability and effectiveness in operational scenarios. Essential capabilities such as Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL), reduced acoustic signatures, and rapid emplacement will be rigorously tested.

“FTUAS program Options 3 and 4 give us the opportunity to demonstrate our Aerosonde Mk. 4.8 HQ UAS and further advance its capabilities before delivering a system for customer test and evaluation,” Prender added. “We look forward to building on valuable voice of the customer during these demonstrations, along with Textron Systems’ decades of experience in UAS integration, to provide a mature, reliable system to the Army.”

Option 4 will see the delivery of production representative prototypes for further testing and operational demonstrations, including environmental, electromagnetic, transportability, and additional flight assessments, culminating in a Production Readiness Review.

Prender highlighted the reliability of their Aerosonde Mk. 4.8 HQ UAS, “The Aerosonde Mk. 4.8 HQ UAS is a low-risk offering that has participated in risk reduction flights and builds upon operator feedback and decades of UAS experience. Textron Systems’ expertise in UAS systems integration and manufacturing positions us to accelerate at whatever speed the Army requests to provide our FTUAS solution.”

The FTUAS program is designed to enhance the organic capabilities of Army brigades to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance operations crucial for Multi-Domain Operations. It supports runway-independent VTOL operations, on-the-move command and control, Soldier-led field maintenance, and enables rapid capability insertions, keeping pace with evolving technology to maintain operational dominance.