The first flight of the Alliant Techsystems Outrider tactical unmanned air vehicle (TUAV) has been delayed by a month because of safety concerns.

The US Department of Defense's UAV Joint Programme Office says: "The delay is primarily to allow additional risk-mitigation efforts to ensure a safe first flight."

The Outrider's initial test flight had been set for early November, six months after receipt of a $53 million, 24-month, advanced-concept technology-demonstration contract. Six TUAV systems - with four air vehicles and sensors per system and eight attrition vehicles - will be built and flight tested.

A contract option calls for low-rate initial production of the same number of systems and air vehicles. With the options, the total value rises to more than $87 million. Full production calls for 73 TUAV systems for the US Army, Marine Corps and Navy.

In beating eight other bidders, Alliant Techsystems proposed a heavy-fuel-engine-powered drone.

Source: Flight International