The US Navy's multi-million dollar contest to acquire a vertical take-off and landing unmanned air vehicle (VTOL UAV) generated up to three bids.

Bidding for the programme, which includes 12 systems for the US Navy and 11 for the US Marine Corps, closed on 1 November.

The USN plans to award a sole contract to initiate engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) and limited production by February.

Bombardier Services had been a leading contender, but withdrew due to concerns over the CL-327's ability to meet speed, payload and endurance criteria.

Bell Helicopter's Eagle Eye and Northrop Grumman's Ryan Aeronautical Center confirmed they answered the final request for proposal, but it is unclear whether Science Applications International, perhaps teamed with General Dynamics and Sikorsky Aircraft, is still in the contest with its Vigilante. The CL-327 goes to sea next week while the Eagle Eye will follow in February 2000.

Source: Flight International