AeroVironment Given SBIR contract for New UAVs: Can They Do It Again?
Small business qualifier AeroVironment Inc. in Monrovia, CA received a not-to-exceed $9.6 million Phase III Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program contract for Topic N87-190 entitled “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Development, Demonstration, and Production.” The objective is to bring a family of advanced UAVs to initial production for the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission. New vehicles concepts, as well as existing production UAVs, will be explored with the goal of rapid deployment for field trials. This effort will include R&D, UAV procurement, field trials, and user training.
AeroVironment has quite a record to build on in this area.
The company brought the hand-launched RQ-11 Raven UAV to fruition and success in the field with the U.S. Army, produces the Marine Corps’ Dragon Eye mini-UAV, and has successfully tested micro-UAV prototypes like its Black Widow. DID has covered the Raven’s field success, and this C4ISR Journal article describes the enthusiasm for the Raven and its Pointer predecessor among the USA’s Special Forces community.
At the other end of the spectrum entirely, AeroVironment’s solar-powered Helios and related telecom-relay Pathfinder Plus UAVs have set records in records in altitude and endurance, and Global Observer is under development with a planned endurance of over a week flying at 65,000 feet.
Details are sketchy at this point, but it will be interesting to see what AeroVironment comes up with.
Work will be performed in Simi Valley, CA and is expected to be complete in February 2011. This contract was competitively procured using SBIR Program Solicitation under Topic N87-190, with four offers received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ issued the contract (N68335-05-C-0356).