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In late April, Florida-based unmanned aerial systems (UAS) manufacturer Altavian announced it has received a contract for the Short-Range Reconnaissance (SRR) prototype as part of the US Army’s effort to field a next-generation drone to weigh less than 5lbs and to be flown by a single operator.

This programme is the first of several army multi-year efforts to refresh the UAS technology portfolio to better protect soldiers through superior situational awareness capabilities. The SRR is intended to augment the existing fleet of small UAS currently deployed by the army in short-range and urban environments. The endeavour is being spearheaded by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), working with PEO Aviation, to speed prototype deployment and guide programme development.

This contract is a strategic win for Altavian and the entire US drone manufacturing base. The defence sector is actively seeking leading-edge technology solutions developed by small, agile, and innovative companies that are competitive in a global market. We are pleased that we were selected to participate,” commented Altavian Chief Operating Officer, Thomas Rambo.

This is the second major award for Altavian in small UAS in little more than a year. In March 2018, the company won a competitive contract to provide products for the existing UAS fleet, including avionics, radios, ground controllers, and spare parts. Altavian is now simultaneously supporting legacy systems with a full capability set while developing for future programmes of record.

This new contract is scheduled to continue into 2020. Under DIU’s guidance, in close coordination with PM UAS, the selected system has the potential to become the Army’s newest UAS programme of record; the first major competition for a new small UAS since 2005.

Altavian has been working on integration issues for the RQ-11/RQ-20 series of small UAS under a US Army contract awarded in March 2018. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

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