Army surveys industry for vehicle-following low-SWaP tethered or untethered UAV communications payloads

April 4, 2024
Interests include architecture; payload capacity; power; computer processing; antennas; solar panels; battery life; autonomous following; and cost.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – U.S. Army are surveying industry for companies able to integrate small lightweight radio communications payloads aboard unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enable the drones to function as communications relays.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., issued a request for information (Topic_GCC_03) on Tuesday for the Modular Aerial Communications Relay Payload project.

UAVs of interest are tethered and untethered aerial drones. The Army Contracting Command issued the request for information on behalf of the U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) C5ISR Center, Engineering and Systems Integration (ESI) Directorate at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The UAV must be able to support at-the-quick-halt and on-the-move following of an Army vehicle while minimizing size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP).

Related: Small payloads with big performance

Of particular interest is collision avoidance for the UAV while moving to steer clear of physical obstructions, objects, and weather condition like wind gusts. While the UAV is on-the-move the system must be able to follow a ground vehicle at tactical speeds and in a non-planned designated route. The drone also must be able to take off and land from stopped and moving vehicles.

Experts are interested in low-SWaP communications payloads for several sizes of UAVs and firmware algorithms for UAV autonomous operation. Other interests include notional architecture; payload capacity for communications payloads; power sources; computer processing; antennas; solar panels; battery life; autonomous following capabilities; and cost.

Companies interested should email 10-page white papers no later than 27 April 2024 to [email protected] with RFI: Aerial Drone Platform for Command Post Survivability - YOUR COMPANY in the subject line.

Email questions or concerns to [email protected]. More information is online at

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