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US Army awards Griffon, Textron with next phases of FTUAS program

Griffon Aerospace and Textron Systems have been awarded the next phases of the US Army’s Future Tactical Uncrewed Aircraft System or FTUAS program. 

With Option 2 of the program now complete, the two companies will now move forward with Options 3 and 4.  

After Option 1, which culminated in a Preliminary Design Review that assessed the weapon system designs presented by all manufacturers, Option 2 involved rigorous assessments, including system performance, cost efficiency, scheduling, program risk, and key imperatives from the US Army. Option 3 will focus on flight demonstrations. Finally, Option 4 will concentrate on the delivery of production-ready prototypes, enabling rigorous testing and operational showcases. 

“FTUAS provides the Brigade with an organic capability to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance operations that collect, develop, and report actionable intelligence, allowing the Warfighter to maintain dominance during Multi-Domain Operations,” the US Army Program Executive Office, Aviation, explained in a statement. “In summary, FTUAS provides transformational capabilities including, VTOL for runway independence, On-The-Move command and control, Soldier-led field level maintenance, and enables rapid capability insertions, further allowing the system to keep pace with technology.” 

The FTUAS is designed to replace the AAI RQ-7 Shadow drone by introducing an Unmanned Aircraft System, or UAS, with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities independent of traditional runways. This aircraft will have a minimal acoustic signature, be easy to transport, and provide commanders with the ability to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. 

The RQ-7 Shadow, first introduced in 2002, is a medium-sized drone with a range of 110 kilometers (68 miles) used for reconnaissance, target spotting, and damage assessment. 

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