Army selects Textron, Griffon for next phase of FTUAS rapid prototyping

By Dan Schere / September 26, 2023 at 4:44 PM

The Army has chosen Textron Systems and Griffon Aerospace to participate in the next phase of the Future Tactical UAS rapid prototyping program, the service announced Tuesday.

FTUAS, part of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift portfolio, has requirements that include runway independence and a “rapidly deployable UAS capability,” according to the service. Its vertical takeoff and landing will provide increased maneuverability, and it will have a “reduced transportation and logistics footprint,” according to the Army’s announcement. FTUAS will help brigade combat teams conduct reconnaissance and surveillance, aiding in collecting intelligence about the enemy during multidomain operations.

In February, the Army awarded five rapid prototyping other transaction authorities for Increment 2 of FTUAS to AeroVironment, Griffon Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, Sierra Nevada and Textron.

In the first agreement option period, the Army evaluated each company’s submission against requirements, Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA), cost, schedule and risk, according to the Army’s Tuesday announcement. This was followed by a preliminary design review that involved assessing each company’s weapon system design.

The second agreement option period, which begins Tuesday, will involve more evaluation of weapon system designs for Textron and Griffon. A critical design review will then establish the “final system design and initial product baseline,” according to the Army.

The critical design review will be followed by a third agreement option period involving flight demonstrations and “MOSA third-party verification,” according to the Army. A subsequent agreement option period will include delivering weapon systems and support equipment for testing and demonstrations with soldier touchpoints.

The Future Unmanned Aircraft System family of systems, which includes FTUAS, is a new start for fiscal year 2024, according to budget justification materials. The service included $53 million in procurement funding in its FY-24 request.