The U.S. Army plans to hold a flight demonstration of tactical unmanned aircraft systems that could replace the service branch’s Shadow and Gray Eagle UAS, Defense News reported Thursday.
Layne Merritt, a chief engineer at the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, told the publication that the Army looks to procure the Future Tactical UAS using the development process applied by the Future Vertical Lift aircraft program, reported Defense News.
Merritt added the Army has established a team to facilitate the Next-Generation Tactical UAS Technology Demonstration program and the military branch allocated $2 million to fund studies in fiscal year 2017.
The second phase of the FTUAS program will occur in 2018 and involve a configuration trades assessment that will result to a performance specification for an air vehicle, Merritt noted.
The Army will choose UAS designs in 2019 and give selected companies 18 to 24 months to build a demonstrator before the flight program starts, the report stated.
The military branch aims to deploy FTUAS at around the same time as the first FVL variant starts operations, reports Defense News.