The U.S. Air Force plans to select a contractor this summer to prototype the service brach’s “Skyborg” unmanned aerial vehicle ahead of flight tests scheduled for 2021, Breaking Defense reported Tuesday.
The Department of Defense announced last week that Boeing, General Atomics, Northrop Grumman and Kratos Defense and Security Solutions’ unmanned aerial systems segment won spots on a potential $400M contract to compete for the Skyborg effort, which falls under the Air Force’s "Vanguard" initiatives.
Brig. Gen. Dale White, program executive officer for fighters and advanced aircraft at Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, said at a press briefing that the service intends to award the second delivery order, which includes prototype selection activities, following evaluations on factors such as pricing.
Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, noted during the briefing that the Skyborg program is at "the very early stages" and the service is getting feedback from warfighters on potential ways to deploy the attritable aircraft.
The Air Force officials noted that the service is yet to announce a set schedule for an initial operating capability authorization for the UAV prototype.