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The US Navy Will Announce A Competition For The Development Of Small Ship Drones

The US Navy Will Announce A Competition For The Development Of Small Ship Drones

The command of the US Navy will soon announce a tender for the development and production of prototypes of small ship-based unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as their testing. According to Flightglobal, demonstration tests of the contestants' technological solutions are planned to be held in late November — early December 2020 at the Yuma proving ground in Arizona.

One of the main modern drones used by the US Navy is the ScanEagle. This device has proven itself well, but it has several disadvantages. In particular, to launch it, you need a pneumatic catapult that takes up space on the deck, as well as an aerial finisher — a cable stretched on the mast, for which the device is hooked by the wing at the end of the flight.

According to the requirements of the US Navy, new small drones should not need any special equipment to launch or land. The device must be able to land with a payload of at least 11.3 kilograms and provide it with the power of at least 300 watts.

The flight duration of the device must be at least 12 hours, and the range — at least 130 kilometers. The drone must be able to transmit video to the operator in day and night conditions, and the communication channel with the control station must be encrypted. The military does not disclose other details about the requirements for drones.

According to the results of the tender, the US Navy can conclude a contract with one of the companies for the development of a new ship-based drone and its serial production. In this case, the cost of the contract can be up to 1 billion dollars.

In early June, it became known that the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Development Agency (DARPA) and specialists from the US Navy's Research Department intend to announce a competition for the development of a new tactical carrier-based drone suitable for takeoff and landing on the deck of almost any ship in the fleet. The new devices will have to replace the ScanEagle reconnaissance drones.

The military expects to receive a device weighing up to 90.7-136 kilograms, capable of carrying a payload weighing up to 27 kilograms. The drone must be capable of vertical takeoff and landing, but its cruising flight must take place in airplane mode.