The US Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen (ACC-APG) has selected Elbit Systems of America as one of the prime contractors to address its future small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) requirements.
Valued at $248m for all five awardees, the firm fixed-price indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract covers provision of support and capability upgrades to the army's existing SUAS, including AeroVironment's RQ-11B Raven and RQ-20A Puma all environment (AE) systems.
Under the contract, Elbit Systems of America will deliver its combat-proven I-LE Block II system as an alternative medium and long-range SUAS to meet the army's anticipated future requirements.
Elbit Systems of America president and CEO Raanan Horowitz said the Skylark I SUAS has been designed to address soldier specific requirements.
"The innovative solutions found in the Skylark I-LE Block II offer more mission flexibility, enabling the Skylark to fly higher without degradation of imagery," Horowitz added.
"These discriminating capabilities are designed to meet the military challenges of today and in the future."
Weighing 16lb, the Skylark I-LE Block II is a hand-launched SUAS designed to conduct various intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions at ranges of 15km in the battlefield.
The system is a modified all-US version of basic Skylark 1 LE, featuring an improved thrust-to-weight ratio for hand-launch operations and aerodynamic performance in harsh environments, as well as new dual electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) payload equipped with a laser marker for day and night operations.
Additional improvements include integration of an open system data link, additional onboard processing, as well as automatic tracking and motion detection capabilities.
Other contract awardees include Altavian, Innovative Automation Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Aerovironment.