US Army to deploy vertical take-off UAS

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is using a hybrid-type acqui­si­tion approach to devel­op a heli­copter-like, Ver­ti­cal-Take-Off-and-Land­ing Unmanned Aer­i­al Sys­tem with a so-called ARGUS wide-area sur­veil­lance sen­sor suite designed to beam back infor­ma­tion and images of the sur­round­ing ter­rain, ser­vice offi­cials said.

 A Vertical-Take-Off-and-Landing Unmanned Aerial System.
A Ver­ti­cal-Take-Off-and-Land­ing Unmanned Aer­i­al Sys­tem.
Click to enlarge

Begin­ning in May or June of 2012, the Army will deploy three Boe­ing-built A160 Hum­ming­bird Ver­ti­cal-Take-Off-and-Land­ing Unmanned Aer­i­al Sys­tems, or VTOL-UAS, to Afghanistan as part of a Quick Reac­tion Capa­bil­i­ty, an acqui­si­tion approach aimed at deliv­er­ing cut­ting-edge and emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies to the­ater to add capa­bil­i­ty and inform require­ments while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly devel­op­ing a for­mal Pro­gram of Record approach, said Lt. Col. Matthew Mun­ster, prod­uct man­ag­er, UAS Modernization. 

“These air­craft will deploy for up to one full year as a way to har­ness lessons learned and fun­nel them into a pro­gram of record,” Mun­ster said. 

The for­mal VTOL Pro­gram of Record will involve a full and open com­pe­ti­tion among many ven­dors able to pro­pose UAS solu­tions able to meet the desired require­ments, he added. 

Army VTOL UAS pro­gram devel­op­ers and engi­neers are now fin­ish­ing up some wiring work on the A160 air­craft and per­form­ing ground tests with the ARGUS sen­sor suite. 

“The ARGUS sen­sor suite has nev­er been flown on this plat­form before so we have to make sure that the inte­gra­tion is com­plete. We are fin­ish­ing that up now and adding some dif­fer­ent types of anten­nas. We begin flight test­ing of the UAS at Yuma Prov­ing Grounds, Ari­zona, ear­ly next year,” Mun­ster said. 

The VTOL air­craft will give for­ward-posi­tioned Army units the abil­i­ty to deploy a wide-area UAS Intel­li­gence, Sur­veil­lance Recon­nais­sance, or ISR, asset with­out need­ing access to a runway. 

U.S. Army 

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