The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and U.S. Air Force today selected four contractor teams for the first phase of the Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) program.
Each team has entered into a "Section 845/804 Other Transaction for Prototypes" agreement to receive $4 million for the initial 10-month trade study, analyses, and preliminary design phase.
The selected contractor team leads are: Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems, Fort Worth, Texas; Northrop Grumman Corp., Military Aircraft Systems Division, Pico Rivera, Calif.; Raytheon Co., Raytheon Systems Co., Falls Church, Va.; The Boeing Company, Information, Space & Defense Systems, Phantom Works, Seattle, Wash.
The goal of the joint DARPA/Air Force UCAV ATD program is to demonstrate the technical feasibility for a UCAV system to effectively and affordably prosecute 21st century suppression of enemy air defenses and strike missions.
The Department of Defense has provided specific mission objectives and guidance on overall system capability to the contractors, and each team will conduct mission effectiveness and affordability trades to optimize an operational system design.
They will then define a UCAV demonstrator system to validate the critical technologies associated with their design.
At the conclusion of this 10-month preliminary design phase, DoD will decide whether to proceed with the 42-month second phase valued at approximately $110 million.
The DoD would select a single Phase I team for the second phase effort to complete the development, fabrication and flight testing of two demonstrator air vehicles and a reconfigurable mission control station.
The UCAV ATD is the next step on the path to a revolutionary new weapon system that will augment future manned systems as part of an integrated, post-2010 force structure.
Future UCAV systems will fully exploit the emerging information revolution.
They will take advantage of multiple, real-time data sources and secure communication networks to plan for, and respond to, the dynamically changing battlefield.
They will also exploit the additional design and operational freedoms provided by removing the pilot from the vehicle to achieve a new paradigm in aircraft affordability and supportability.
By capitalizing on these technical advances, UCAVs will provide the nation with increased tactical deterrence at a fraction of the costs of current manned systems.
The UCAV ATD supports the Air Force's Global Engagement vision and will be available for use in future joint experiments and demonstrations.
Under Section 845 ("Other Transactions for Prototypes") of Public Law 103-160, codified in 10 U.S.C. 2371, and subsequently modified in Section 804 of Public Law 104-201, DoD is able to support research and development by using streamlined procurement methods. The government retains maximum flexibility in these "other transactions" to apply only those policies, practices and standards that make sense on a case-by-case basis, and can, to a large extent, use generally accepted commercial practices.
The use of Section 845/804 allows the contractor team to be more creative in their use of commercial-off-the-shelf equipment and in their corporate teaming arrangements.
Additional information on the UCAV ATD program is available via the World Wide Web at http://www.darpa.mil/tto/ucav.html.