Textron Systems prepares to deliver Aerosonde HQ, a new unmanned aircraft system, for the initial phase of the U.S. Army’s Future Tactical UAS program, which involves assessment by the Army’s Brigade Combat Team, Rotor and Wing International reported Friday.
The company will deliver its Aerosonde HQ vertical take-off UAS to the service branch in the following months. The new drone is designed to fly for a total of 350K hours.
New aircraft under the $132M FTUAS program will potentially replace the existing Shadow UAS. The service branch seeks a replacement that is smaller and requires only a single CH-47 helicopter for transport.
Texatron Systems and Martin UAV were chosen by the Army to compete for the program, which has a $99.5 million award limit and is expected to run through March 27, 2022.
Martin UAV will also contribute to the Future Tactical UAS program, collaborating with Northrop Grumman to create the V-BAT system, a tail-landing drone with a top speed of 90 knots.
The Army plans to launch a fly-off competition between the program’s entries in fiscal 2020.