The Army plans to work with small businesses to develop concepts for the Air Launched Effects that will accompany the Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft, according to a July 29 solicitation.
"To gain and maintain overmatch in the future conflict, Army Aviation must modernize and distribute its reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition (RSTA) and lethality with an advanced team of manned and unmanned aircraft as part of an ecosystem including Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and ALE," the solicitation stated.
Future Air Launched Effects are expected to be drones launched from FARA to penetrate and disable adversary anti-access/area-denial systems, according to the solicitation. The Air Launched Effects will detect, identify and locate adversary systems, then disable them with lethal and non-lethal effects.
Small businesses in the program will "provide conceptual designs, trade-space analyses and sensitivities intended to inform the ALE key capability-enabling air vehicle development effort," according to the solicitation. The Army intends to use the vehicle development effort to procure new capabilities alongside FARA.
At this phase of the Air Launched Effects program, the service plans to define parameters for size, weight, performance and capabilities of the possible future vehicles, in addition to identifying critical future technologies and quantifying technology readiness levels, according to the solicitation.
Key attributes will also include stowed volume, payload space, low-speed maneuver performance, propulsion type and range.
Funding for this program is anticipated to be between $5 million and $7 million, at a rate of $1 million per award, according to the solicitation. But there could be smaller awards for projects that only address part of the program's goals.
Responses from interested small businesses are due Sept. 13, according to the solicitation. The program is expected to last one year.
The Army awarded 10 other transaction agreements last year for the development of various components of the Air Launched Effects.