Navy picks winners for MUX mission payloads prize challenge

By Mallory Shelbourne / November 22, 2019 at 4:27 PM

The Navy yesterday announced the winners of four prize challenges for the Marine Air Ground Task Force Unmanned Expeditionary program.

Boeing, BAE Systems, L3 Harris Technologies and Telephonics Corp. each took first place finishes for design concepts of four different mission payloads.

"A team from the Multi-Mission Tactical UAS program office (PMA-266) coordinated these four mission payload prize challenges, each totaling $1 million, to obtain information, performance capabilities, and technical data on mission system payload technologies that will inform the development and acquisition strategy for the MUX program, the Marines' future ship-based UAS," Naval Air Systems Command said in a press release.

While Boeing won first place for the data relay payload design concept, BAE Systems took first place for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance concept. Telephonics took first place for its design concept of an airborne early warning mission payload and L3 Harris Technologies came in first place for the electronic warfare payload.

The prize for each first-place winner was $700,000, while second-and third-place winners each collected $200,000 and $100,000, respectively.

Piasecki Aircraft Corp. took second place for the airborne early warning mission payload, while Bell Textron and Sierra Nevada Corp. together won third place. Piasecki Aircraft Corp. also came in second for the ISR mission payload and General Atomics came in third.

For the data relay mission payload, Northrop Grumman took second place, while Cubic Defense Applications Inc. came in third. General Atomics took second place for the electronic warfare payload, with Piasecki Aircraft Corp. coming in third.

The Navy has described the four mission payload prizes as part of the initial phase of its development of MUX, a group 5 unmanned aerial system that can take off and land vertically from amphibious ships. The first phase is also slated to include two additional prize challenges for designs of system architecture and a payload adapter.

The second phase will include a prize challenge for "air vehicle designs that, at the discretion of the Government," would use payloads from the first phase, according to a prior Navy solicitation.