#AUVSI: Integrator wins despite past mishap

Boeing/Insitu confirms the Integrator won the small tacticalunmanned aircraft system (STUAS)/Tier II contract three weeks ago despitecrashing during a key flight demonstration in front of US Navy and Marine Corpsevaluators.

In the competitive demonstrations last year, the first of twoIntegrator vehicles crashed on takeoff from the system’s catapult launcher infront of US Navy and Marine Corps observers, says Bill Clark, Insitu vice presidentof emerging programmes.

An investigation revealed the air data system becamedisconnected from the flight control computer on takeoff, Clarksays.

Insitu then launched the second Integrator vehicle, which completedthe required flight demonstration without incident, he adds.

Clark also strongly believes that a lack of flight testing prior to the demonstration increased the risk of a crash heading into the eventstaged at Yuma, Arizona.

In the weeks before the demonstration, Insitu had to divertits focus from flight tests to completing a transition to a software programmefor Integrator that was certified to the CMMI Level 3 standard, he says.

“We did not have enough hours in our system,” he says.

The navy decided to award the contract to Boeing/Insitydespite the mishap during the demonstration phase.

This was despite the navy’sgoal to make technical risk the key factor in the evaluation, followed by pastexperience of the bidders and cost.

At least two of the other three competitors perhaps fared nobetter.

At the AUVSI convention last year, an AAI/Aerosondeexecutive said that he understood that his team’s vehicle – the Aerosonde Mk4.7 – was the only aircraft that did not experience a mishap during the flightdemonstrations.The two other bidders for STUAS/Tier II were theRaytheon/Swift Engineering KillerBee-4 and UAS Dynamics Storm.


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