AeroVironment has won a competitive task order from the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) as part of the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MEUAS) IV programme.

The MEUAS IV allows the contract awardees to compete for task orders to provide USSOCOM with UAVs and support for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.

The latest task order has a 12-month period of performance. It also has multiple follow-on option years for ISR services.

Under the approximately $22m task order, AeroVironment’s JUMP 20 medium unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will provide advanced multi-sensor ISR services at an undisclosed customer location.

JUMP 20 is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), fixed-wing unmanned aircraft system that can be deployed quickly. It requires no launch equipment or runway.

This VTOL has been deployed extensively in support of US military forces.

The ISR services comprise the first SATCOM-enabled unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for beyond line of sight (BLOS) operations.

AeroVironment Medium UAS vice-president and product line general manager Gorik Hossepian said: “The JUMP 20 delivers an unmatched level of versatility, with runway and infrastructure independence, multiple payload configurations, class-leading endurance and a track record of reliability and ruggedness.

“The inclusion of a SATCOM payload adds beyond-line-of-sight operation to the JUMP 20, providing our customer with expanded reach and situational awareness, and representing another game-changing, market-leading capability.”

The UAS can deliver more than 14 hours of endurance, with a standard operational range of 185km and has a useable payload capacity of up to 30lb.

It also features a common autopilot and ground control system architecture.

In June 2020, six companies were awarded a seat on the IDIQ MEUAS contract. AeroVironment’s wholly-owned subsidiary Arcturus UAV is one of them.