The Navy is seeking information from industry about a shore- and carrier-based communication system that will integrate with the service's MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tanker program, according to a Federal Business Opportunities notice.
The unmanned carrier aviation program office requires an integrated communication system (ICS) to be hosted by the unmanned carrier aviation mission control station (UMCS). The UMCS will be used for both shore- and carrier-based control of the MQ-25 aircraft.
The solution will provide "a single system for all data and audio communications from the air vehicle operator to other [shipboard air traffic control communications system] operators," according to the Nov. 22 request for information.
Further, the ICS must be "capable of transporting voice communications from an earthbound air vehicle operator to local audio switches, local radio terminals, and remote radio terminals for retransmission and reception," the RFI said.
The program office is seeking information on industry's ability to build an ICS that will be integrated with the shipboard UMCS and interface with existing carrier communication systems. Responses to the RFI are due Dec. 8.
The MQ-25 program is split into three segments: control system and connectivity, an air segment and a carrier segment. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Washington conference today, Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, said the focus of the MQ-25 program is usually on its air segment.
"We've been working on those other two elements for the past several years getting that all ready to go, so when we get that award, we can go as quickly as we can," he said.
The Navy released a request for proposals for the air segment of the MQ-25 in October and is expected to award a contract in summer 2018.