REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — The U.S. Army received the first Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System, Increment 1 — known as FTUAS, INC 1 — system on Sept. 12, 2022. The system consists of six air vehicles, six data terminals, six control stations and associated ground support equipment. The U.S. Army awarded an $8M other transaction authority agreement for the system on August 18, 2022, to AeroVironment, Inc.
FTUAS is 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. FTUAS allows rapid emplacement, in less than 45 minutes, and has a reduced size and footprint compared to the Shadow while providing comparable performance. FTUAS will be transportable by a single CH-47, provide over six hours of operating endurance, and will be capable of operating out to 100 kilometers.
INC 1 leverages lessons-learned from the year-long FTUAS demonstration and will field readily available mature technologies in response to a directed requirement from the Army Futures Command. It will also inform the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities and policy requirements for the FTUAS INC 2 program. INC 2 is a separate competitive acquisition.
The air vehicles and ground equipment will undergo numerous tests such as environmental, transportability and flight testing at Redstone Arsenal. After testing concludes, the residual system of four air vehicles, four data terminals, four control stations and associated ground support equipment will be delivered to an Army brigade combat team for an operational assessment. Based upon the results of testing and assessment, Army leadership may decide to procure and field up to seven additional INC 1 systems.
For more information on the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System line of effort, contact the Program Executive Office, Aviation Public Affairs Office.