The UK Ministry of Defence has received responses from 36 companies interested in taking part in the assessment phase of its Sender unit-level, tactical unmanned air vehicle (UAV) requirement.

The Sender will provide tactical reconnaissance and target acquisition at ranges up to 50km (90nm). The MoD expects to issue invitations to tender for 12-month assessment later this year and to award contracts early next year.

The Sender's in-service date is slated for 2008. Assessment studies will include design definition and costing.

Interest has been registered by UAV manufacturers as well as systems integrators. Three of the four companies selected by the US Army for its similar tactical UAV programme have registered their interest, the exception being Alliant Techsystems (Flight International, 18-24 August). Three unsuccessful teams have also indicated their interest.

A UK/US memorandum of understanding is under consideration for the Sender programme.

Source: Flight International