U.S. Army takes next step to procure new unmanned aircraft system

By Army Futures CommandSeptember 7, 2021

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – The U.S. Army released its request for white papers to industry today for its Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System Increment 1 intended to replace the RQ-7B Shadow within some of the service’s brigade combat teams. The white papers will be due back by Sept. 17, 2021.

This request follows a yearlong Soldier touchpoint that put non-developmental systems into the hands of Soldiers to employ and evaluate as Multi-Domain Operation (MDO) capable UAS with the ability to support the BCT’s reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition mission.

“The solicitation to industry comes after a year of feedback and data from Soldiers who field tested four vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aircraft systems as part of our ‘Buy, Try, Inform’ process,” said Col. Chad Chasteen, the Future Vertical Lift Cross-Functional Team G3/5/7 director. “This streamlined the acquisition process to have well-informed requirements in less than 18 months which puts us on an expedited path to getting the capability into the hands of our Soldiers.”

The Army Requirements Oversight Council approved the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System requirements in August, and the Army Contracting Command-Redstone Arsenal Other Transaction Authority (ACC-RSA OTA) solicitation is the next step in the selection process with an anticipated initial fielding in fiscal year 2023.

The Army wants to replace the workhorse RQ-7B Shadow with a vertical takeoff and landing, runway-independent, reduced acoustic signature aircraft that can be transported organically while providing commanders with “on the move” reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition capabilities. The FTUAS Increment 2 will be forthcoming in the near term through the Aviation and Missile Technology Consortium OTA.

For more information on the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System line of effort, contact the FVL CFT Public Affairs Office at Lisa.M.Ferguson.civ@army.mil or the Program Executive Office, Aviation Public Affairs Office at David.S.Hylton.ctr@mail.mil.