The US Navy has issued a request for proposals worth up to $870 million for a small unmanned air system to provide a bridge between its current capabilities and the entrance of the small tactical unmanned aerial system (STUAS)/tier II entry into service, projected to be in 2013.
The RFP, under which the awardee will provide deployed, short-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services to the navy, US Marine Corps and US Air Force for one year, will replace the sole-source, fee-for-service leasing deal, awarded to Boeing/Insitu in 2004 and renewed annually.
The UAS will be required to provide 10h of uninterrupted full motion video and operate from an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. It also must have a heavy fuel engine.
The RFP has been eagerly anticipated by the UAS industry. Respondents have until 6 July to respond. No companies have publically announced a bid, but among the 24 attendees at a relevant navy presentation in 2010 were AAI, Aurora Flight Sciences, Boeing and Northrop Grumman.
The awardee will be responsible for maintaining and operating the UAS in operational conditions.