The FirePoint Innovations Center at Wichita State University has announced the selection of six teams for C3 Challenge to build the US Army’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The move comes in response to FirePoint’s opening of registration last September for the challenge, inviting university students from around the US to submit their designs for the army’s future UAVs intended for next-generation combat and defence.

Sponsored by the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center (CCDC AvMC), FirePoint C3 Challenge is supported by Dassault Systemes and America Makes.

As part of the C3 Challenge, the teams will get an opportunity to work with Army Futures Command and aerospace companies to build working UAV prototype.

These selected teams will compete for up to $35,000 in funding and move forward to the next phase of the competition.

Initially, they will create a statement of work for their project, and then move on to proof of concept, prior to demonstrating their innovations to the US Department of Defense (DOD).

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To ensure teams have the resources to develop proof of concepts, each of them will get up to $10,000 for project development.

FirePoint Innovations Center Technology Collaborations manager Steve Cyrus said: “We’re extremely pleased with this crop of competitors and really intrigued by their proposals.

“We essentially gave them a blue sky mandate, they could propose anything they wanted within those three functional areas, and we’re eager to see how these concepts evolve and come together to benefit the army’s technology pipeline.”

The programme has been designed to surface new technologies that support the army’s modernisation efforts and fuel development of its next generation of UAV.

Participating teams are the Buhler High School Science Club, Team Innovating Shockers from Wichita State University, Team Shocker UAVs from Wichita State, Team Vol Air from the University of Tennessee, Team UAH Chargers from the University of Alabama and Pistol Pete’s Propulsion Posse from Oklahoma State University.

They have each submitted design concepts in one of three component areas within a UAV subsystem.

Upon completion of the sub-section development phase next month, up to four teams will be selected to move forward in the competition.

They will also start collaborating remotely on their designs and integration using Dassault Systemes 3D design and modelling platform.

Finally, an integrated working UAV prototype will be designed and fabricated by them for final presentation to the army in February next year.