FCS Team Seeking Bids for Class II and III Unmanned Aerial System

Released on Monday, November 22, 2004
United States of America
Class II UAV
MQ-8B Fire Scout
DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
FCS - Future Combat Systems
FCS - Flight Control System
LSI - Lead Systems Integrator
OAV - Organic Air Vehicle
UAS - Unmanned Aerial System
UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
The US Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) Lead System Integrator (LSI) team are seeking bid proposals for Class II and Class III unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system. The bid solicitation is consequence of US Army decision in July to expand and to accelerate the FCS program development and fielding.

To date, the FCS LSI, Boeing and Science Application International Corporation (SAIC), already selected Northrop-Grumman's RQ-8B Fire Scout as the Class IV UAS early this year. UAV systems play a critical role in battlefield operations, performing missions that dramatically enhance effectiveness while keeping the soldiers out of harm's way. This role is called to expand in future warfare in accordance with lessons learned from Iraq and the global war on terrorism.

The US Army's FCS consists of 18 systems, a tactical network and the individual soldier. Unmanned systems will operate as communications nodes in the battlefield carrying out reconnaissance, target acquisition and battlefield interdiction missions. Intelligence gathered by unmanned platforms will enhance dramatically overall force survivability and situational awareness.

In 2003, the Army and FCS LSI conducted procurement competitions for Class II and III UAV, but finally, contract awards were deferred due to lack of funds and other funding considerations. Thereby, this decision brings new opportunities to contractors with expertise in unmanned aerial systems market.

The Class II UAV system will provide reconnaissance, early warning, target acquisition and designation at the company level in support of line-of-sight, beyond line-of-sight, and non line-of-sight engagements. Class II UAV system will operated from ground vehicles and will be able to take-off and landing in unimproved areas. It will provide enhanced dedicated imagery while being cued remotely by Army personnel. The FCS program will execute the Class II UAV system in parallel with DARPA's Organic Air Vehicle (OAV) II program

The Class III UAV system will have greater endurance and a larger payload-carrying capacity than the Class II system. It will be more multifunctional capable of providing reconnaissance, communications relay, early warning, target acquisition and designation. In addition, the Class III UAV will provide remote reconnaissance and terrain information taking off and landing in unimproved areas. Following the Class II roadmap, Class III system will be developed in parallel with a DARPA's program.

Both programs will enter now evaluation phase of the proposed candidates which will last 24-month for the Class II and 30-month for the Class III UAV system. One Class II candidate will be selected to enter system design and development in late 2007 followed by one Class III candidate in early 2008. Both systems are expected to be fully operational in 2014 deployed with the first FCS-equipped unit of action.


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