Organic Air Vehicle II (OAV-II) Phase I Contracts Awarded

Released on Monday, November 29, 2004
United States of America
Class I UAV
Class II UAV
DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
FCS - Future Combat Systems
FCS - Flight Control System
MEP - Mission Equipment Package
OAV - Organic Air Vehicle
RSTA - Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition
SDD - System Development and Demonstration
UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded funding to three contractors for the development of the US Army's Future Combat System (FCS) Class II Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV). The funds are being provided under the first phase of Organic Air Vehicle - II (OAV-II) program.

Aurora Flight Sciences Inc., Manassas, Virginia was awarded $2.4 million; BAE Systems Aircraft Controls Inc., Los Angeles, California, received $2.5 million; and Honeywell International Inc. Defense and Space Electronics Systems, Albuquerque, New Mexico, was awarded roughly $4 million. Phase I will last six months and contractors are called to perform design and determine technical requirements for the air vehicle major subsystems. Contractors will focus on system size and performance as well as collision avoidance system feasibility.

OAV-II program will demonstrated company-level ducted fan unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for operation in diverse missions such as complex environment reconnaissance and surveillance; path finding for friendly ground vehicles; maneuver force protection; and targeting for non-line-of-sight fire operations. At the end of the three-phased OAV-II program the vehicle demonstrator will transition into an Army System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program that will lead to Class II UAV.

Class II UAV will provide small units with Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) capabilities for up to two hours duration at ranges of tens of kilometers. Ultimately, Class II UAV will be deployed in support of FCS Unit of Action over the next decade.

According to DARPA, OAV-II prototype will be less than 112 pounds (51 kilograms) and will demonstrate advanced sensors integration into such small-sized, lightweight platform. The array of sensors will conduct situational awareness, target designation, non-line-of-sight networked communications, and collision avoidance. The prototype will use heavy fuel propulsion and will incorporate advanced acoustic signature reduction technology.

The OAV-II program Phase I will culminate with a preliminary design review, then DARPA will select up to two contractors to continue into Phase II. During the nine-month of Phase II, contractors will perform detailed design of the air vehicle and ground support elements (control station and ground vehicle interfaces). The collision avoidance system will mature with further development from phase I flight testing on a surrogate air vehicle. A single contractor will be selected for Phase III following a critical design review.

Phase III will last approximately three years, 33-month. Along the first 18 months, the OAV-II contractor will fabricate, integrate and test the air vehicle, and demonstrate basic collision avoidance functionality. The resulting air vehicle will undergo flight tests carrying a surrogate sensors payload in place of the Class I UAV Mission Equipment Package (MEP), which will be developed in a parallel program by the US Army Communications and Electronic Research, Development and Engineering Center Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

The Phase III contractor will spent the last 15-month of the program integrating Class II MEP into the air vehicle and perform flight testing to demonstration full functionality of the collision avoidance system (avoidance of buildings, trees and wires), RSTA, target designation, networked communications and autonomous operations.

OAV-II program is a follow-on OAV program which concluded in August 2004. OAV program focused on developing ducted fan UAV technologies and exploring airframe scalability issues. That program culminated with the flight demonstration of a 29-inch (74 cm) prototype simulating route reconnaissance and urban perimeter reconnaissance at Fort Benning, Georgia.


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