The Army has awarded a $429.1 million hybrid contract to two Massachusetts-based companies, initiating the engineering and manufacturing development phase for the Common Robotic System (Individual), or CRS(I).
Endeavor Robotics and QinetiQ North America will compete in a 10-month run-off test of CRS(I) prototypes before the Army chooses one to carry out the rest of the contract term ending Feb. 2, 2027, according to a March 30 Defense Department announcement. CRS(I) is the service's desired miniature, unmanned system for dismounted forces to enhance reconnaissance capability.
The hybrid contract is a cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity agreement. Under the terms of the contract, the two vendors in addition to the run-off systems will each deliver seven CRS(I) systems and eight production-representative systems to support government testing and activities. The vendors will also provide support for a "system interoperability profile instantiation conformance test," an early security control assessment and cybersecurity tests.
Bryan McVeigh, project manager for force projection, told Inside Defense in a March 27 interview the CRS(I) award would also include development of a common controller for the service's entire non-standard robotics fleet. According to the service's fiscal year 2019 budget request, the Common Robotic Controller is also intended to operate current unmanned aerial systems and ground vehicles at the battalion level and below.
The announcement comes as the service aims to drop half of its non-standard robot inventory, which currently totals 4,000 systems, and arrange the remaining systems into three programs of record: CRS(I); Man Transportable Robotic System Increment II, or MTRS Inc II and Common Robotic System (Heavy), or CRS(H).
The Army just met its deadline for the contract award and is on track to make the milestone C decision for CRS(I) in the second quarter of FY-19, leading into low-rate initial production.