U.S. Army Picks AeroVironment’s Jump 20 to Replace Shadow UAS

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  • 08:21 AM, August 19, 2022
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U.S. Army Picks AeroVironment’s Jump 20 to Replace Shadow UAS
Jump20 UAV @U.S. Army

The U.S. Army has chosen AeroVironment’s Jump 20 unmanned aircraft to be the first Future Tactical UAS, an effort to replace the runway-dependent Shadow.

On August 18, the Army confirmed in a statement that it awarded the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) Increment 1 (INC 1) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) to AeroVironment, Inc for one JUMP 20 system.

The system consists of six Air Vehicles, ground data terminals and ground control stations. This award has a value of $8 million and is the result of a competitive evaluation.

The Army requires replacement of 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. FTUAS will allow rapid emplacement in less than 45 minutes, have a reduced size and footprint compared to the Shadow and have comparable performance. FTUAS will be transportable by a single CH-47, provide over six hours of operating endurance, and operate out to 100 km.

The OTA is for the purchase, testing, and delivery of one system to a single Army Brigade Combat Team (BCT). Based upon the results of testing, Army leadership may decide to procure and field up to seven additional INC 1 systems.

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. INC 1 meets an immediate operational need from units for a replacement for the RQ-7B Shadow and will inform the Doctrine, Organization, Training, materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities, and Policy (DOTmLPF-P) requirements for the FTUAS INC 2 program. INC 2 is a separate competitive acquisition.

Army Contracting Command - Redstone Arsenal issued the request for enhanced white papers on 3 September 2021. The U. S. government evaluated the proposals and released a Request for Prototype Proposals on 30 September 2021. AeroVironment met performance requirements while offering high technology and manufacturing readiness levels, thereby reducing the need for additional development, the Army said.

This award follows a year-long Soldier touchpoint that put non-developmental systems into the hands of Soldiers to employ and evaluate a vertical take-off and landing capable UAS with the ability to support a BCT’s reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition missions.

The FTUAS INC 2 acquisition is continuing independently of but in parallel with the INC 1 award and testing. The Aviation and Missile Technology Consortium (AMTC) released the FTUAS INC 2 Request for White Papers on 1 October 2021. The PEO Aviation FTUAS team is conducting a technical evaluation of the submissions in preparation for the rapid prototyping effort.

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