Five Companies Awarded Army Small UAS Contracts

 - January 11, 2013, 11:54 AM
The hand-launchable Altavian Nova Block III UAS is used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville, Fla., district. (Photo: Business Wire)

The U.S. Army selected five companies to compete for future small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) requirements under an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract valued up to $248 million. Contracts were awarded to AeroVironment of Monrovia, Calif.; Elbit Systems of America in Fort Worth; Lockheed Martin in Owego, N.Y., and two small Gainesville, Fla., companies—Altavian and Innovative Automation Technologies.

In a December 21 notification, the Army Contracting Command in Natick, Mass., said it was issuing the multiple awards on behalf of the service’s SUAS Product Office “to provide the full spectrum of SUAS products … for domestic and foreign customers.” The command said SUAS systems generally consist of an unmanned aircraft, an electro-optic/infrared payload, a ground control station, an RSTA (reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition) computer kit and a field repair kit. It said medium- and long-range SUAS systems other than the currently fielded systems—AeroVironment’s RQ-11B Raven and RQ-20A Puma AE—may be procured to meet future requirements.

In a press release, AeroVironment said the firm, fixed-price IDIQ contract also allows for continued procurement of the Raven and Puma AE. “We have successfully competed for every major United States Department of Defense program of record involving small UAS and have delivered highly reliable systems with increasing capability,” said Roy Minson, general manager of the company’s UAS business segment. “This new IDIQ contract provides for continued procurement of small UAS, reflecting the high value of this capability.” John Perry, Altavian’s CEO, told The Gainesville Sun that he expects the Army to solicit bids against the contract in the next few months. Altavian builds the 11-pound Nova Block III UAS that is used by the Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville, Fla., district for civil works projects in Florida and Puerto Rico.

Last year, the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command awarded IDIQ multiple award contracts worth up to $874 million to AAI Textron, Insitu and CSC for UAS services. The Pentagon awarded AAI a separate IDIQ contract for up to $600 million for the Special Operations Command Mid-Endurance UAS II program.