The U.S. Air Force is wading further into the process of buying a next-generation multirole autonomous-capable aircraft system by issuing a request for information to assess industry’s ability to provide one.
A new request for information from the Air Force outlines the service’s interest in developing a Next-Generation (Next-Gen) Multi-Role Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Family of Systems (FoS) with reduced operating costs and greater persistence, survivability, and range.
According to a recent request posted by the Air Force Materiel Command, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), the air service wants a future unmanned aircraft that will focus on open architectures, automation, and digital engineering capabilities.
The new notice states that a Next-Gen Multi-Role UAS FoS must be able to operate in a variety of operational environments to support the Joint Force in its competition and wartime missions.
The Department of the Air Force is developing various Next-Gen Multi-Role UAS FoS technologies to address critical National Defense Strategy priorities focused on Great Power Competition.
Future Next-Gen Multi-Role UAS FoS technologies must hold a different role than they do today and address capabilities beyond traditional UAS mission sets, such as air-to-air, base defense, electronic warfare, moving target indicator (air and ground) capabilities, and be designed for native integration into Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2). The plan for this approach includes investment in military-specific systems, as well as the commercial market.
The purpose of this new request is to research potential solutions focused on the capability proposed for on ramp one, to include; Air Domain Awareness (e.g., Airborne Moving Target Indication (AMTI)) and High Value Airborne Asset Protection (HVAAP).