U.S. Army awards FTUAS Increment 1 OTA to AeroVironment

The U.S. Army awarded the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) Increment 1 (INC 1) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) on August 18, 2022, to AeroVironment, Inc for one (1) JUMP 20 system. The system consists of six (6) Air Vehicles, ground data terminals and ground control stations. This award has a value of $8M and is the result of a competitive evaluation.

INC 1 meets an immediate operational need from units for a replacement for the RQ-7B Shadow and will inform the Doctrine, Organization, Training, materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities, and Policy (DOTmLPF-P) requirements for the FTUAS INC 2 program. INC 2 is a separate competitive acquisition.

Specialist. Christopher McCoy assigned to 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, conducts an engine start on the JUMP 20 prior to a launch during the FTUAS capabilities assessment at Fort Riley, Kansas. (Photo: Courtesy asset of the U.S. Department of Defense [DoD]) Disclaimer: The appearance of U.S. DoD visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Fielding a System
The OTA is for the purchase, testing, and delivery of one (1) system to a single Army Brigade Combat Team (BCT). Based upon the results of testing, Army leadership may decide to procure and field up to seven (7) additional INC 1 systems.

INC 1 leverages lessons-learned from the year-long FTUAS demonstration and will field readily available mature technologies in response to a Directed Requirement from the Army Futures Command.

Army Contracting Command—Redstone Arsenal issued the request for enhanced white papers on 3 September 2021. The U. S. government evaluated the proposals and released a Request for Prototype Proposals on 30 September 2021. AeroVironment met performance requirements while offering high technology and manufacturing readiness levels, thereby reducing the need for additional development.

This award follows a year-long Soldier touchpoint that put non-developmental systems into the hands of Soldiers to employ and evaluate a vertical take-off and landing capable UAS with the ability to support a BCT’s reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition missions.

Meanwhile, FTUAS INC 2
The FTUAS INC 2 acquisition is continuing independently of but in parallel with the INC 1 award and testing. The Aviation and Missile Technology Consortium (AMTC) released the FTUAS INC 2 Request for White Papers on 1 October 2021. The PEO Aviation FTUAS team is conducting a technical evaluation of the submissions in preparation for the rapid prototyping effort.

The Army requires replacement of the workhorse RQ-7B Shadow with a vertical takeoff and landing, runway-independent, reduced acoustic signature aircraft that can be transported organically while providing commanders with “on the move” reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition capabilities. FTUAS will allow rapid emplacement in less than 45 minutes, have a reduced size and footprint compared to the Shadow and have comparable performance. FTUAS will be transportable by a single CH-47, provide over six hours of operating endurance, and operate out to 100 kilometers.