Special Operations Command orders small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Area-I for covert reconnaissance

Aug. 15, 2022
ALTIUS has one that launches from A-size sonobuoy canisters; a tube- and air-launched version; and a high-endurance bomb-rack-launched model.

MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – U.S. military special operations experts needed small unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. They found their solution from Area-I LLC in Marietta, Ga.

Officials of the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., announced a $30.5 million contract to Area-I last month for the Agile-Launch Tactically-Integrated Unmanned System (ALTIUS) unmanned aircraft.

The ALTIUS covert UAV family comes in three variants: the ALTIUS-500 that launches from A-size sonobuoy launch canisters aboard Navy helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft; the tube- and air-launched ALTIUS-600; and the high-endurance ALTIUS-900 can be launched from military aircraft bomb racks.

This contract includes reconnaissance mission payloads, training, logistics, engineering, test and measurement, and other services in support of U.S. Special Operations Command's Aviation Integration Directorate Contracting Office.

Related: U.S. Special Forces use unmanned reconnaissance drone with missile warhead for reconnaissance and attack

The ALTIUS-500 agile-launched UAV can be delivered as all-up-rounds and available on-demand and operational within minutes. It is designed to store and launch from A-size sonobuoy launch canisters from anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft and helicopters, and can perform high-altitude ASW because it can deploy a magnetic anomaly detector to detect the magnetic signature of a submarine.

The ALTIUS-600 is a tube-launched UAV that can be launched from the air, sea, and ground from systems like the Common Launch Tube (CLT), Pneumatically Integrated Launch System (PILS), and other launch systems. It has a sensor or payload package, and can launch from C-130A, AC-130J, and P-3 fixed-wing aircraft; the UH-60 ASW helicopter, civilian aircraft, and ground vehicles.

The ALTIUS-900 is similar to the ALTIUS-600, but with increased endurance, next generation power system, and interfaces with 14-inch, 1,000-pound class bomb racks where the UAV falls away from its launch aircraft.

On this contract Area-I will do the work in Marietta, Ga., and should be finished by July 2027. For more information contact Area-I LLC online at https://areai.com, or U.S. Special Operations Command at www.socom.mil.

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