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RQ-7 and US Army Tactical UAS:  Requirements, Scenarios and Outlook (AB085)

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The 47-page research note provides three U.S. Army acquisition scenarios: two for the RQ-7 UAS and another for an evolving rotary-wing unmanned system.  “We initiated this research based upon multiple, independent inquiries, with the knowledge that RQ-7 is still in a delivery phase,” said G2 Solutions Research Director Ron Stearns.  “During our research Army announced the cancellation of the Future Combat Systems Class IV UAS, with many in industry wondering how funds would be reallocated, which missions would be prioritized and how these systems would work together.”  G2 Solutions believes that within this forecast Army will require a tactical UAV with payload, range and endurance greater than what RQ-7 or system enhancements will be able to provide.   The RQ-7 scenarios depict a partial recapitalization, and a full-system recompete, although both assume a certain level of standardization and backfit/reuse.  The rotary-wing UAS assumes a much larger platform optimized for missions such as resupply, communications, ISR and others.  Each forecast includes revenues flowing to: the UAV, ground control, sensors as well as components/support.  “Depending upon the forecast emphasis, these program elements will vary greatly,” Stearns said. “Look for a high Technical Readiness Level (TRL) platform to be fielded quickly, in an effort to manage risk perceptions and move capability quickly to theater.”  

The forecast provides visibility from 2013 to 2025, with acquisition revenues peaking in the 2018-2021 timeframe with close to half of all-scenario revenues accounted for.  The report draws upon U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) publications, ranging from Unmanned System Roadmaps to the recently-released Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) in order to plot organizational shifts over time.  Operations tempo and an increasing thirst for tactical persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) will continue to place tactical unmanned systems at the forefront of mission prosecution.


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