Army eyes hand-launched squad drone the weight of a baseball

U.S. Army researchers are asking for industry's help in designing an unmanned aerial drone about the weight of a baseball to enable forward-deployed infantry to conduct 15-minute reconnaissance missions.

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ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - U.S. Army researchers are asking for industry's help in designing an unmanned aerial drone about the weight of a baseball to enable forward-deployed infantry to conduct 15-minute reconnaissance missions.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., issued a request for information (W91CRBRequestforInformation) for the Soldier Borne Sensors (SBS) program to develop a personal battlefield surveillance drone for Army infantry. The entire system -consisting of control console, display, and unmanned aircraft - will weigh about 3 pounds; the actual aircraft will weigh about 5.29 ounces. The standalone system will have all hardware, software, radio equipment, batteries, and a tactical carrying pouch and is to be flown by one operator; display incoming video and telemetry data in near real time during the day, at night, and in light precipitation.

Army researchers are surveying industry for the ability to design and manufacture small drones to provide squad members with fast, short-range battlefield surveillance.

The system will be able to return to a predetermined location if it loses its radio link; have a display that is readable during the day and at night; accept standard battery charging; have an unmanned aircraft able to fly in manual mode and by waypoint navigation; and have an operating radius of 500 meters for 15 minutes.

The system's display must have sufficient resolution for a trained operator to detect a man-sized target with a 90-percent probability. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) must be able to be launched and recovered by hand while the operator is lying down under cover. The operator must be able to set up the system and launch the UAV within 60 seconds, and the UAV must be able to fly reliably in 10-knot winds with gusts to 15 knots.

The Army Contracting Command is issuing its request for information on behalf the Army's Product Manager Soldier Maneuver Sensors (PM SMS) within the Army's Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier.

Companies interested should e-mail two-page information papers and initial questions to the Army's Sarah Coleman at sarah.w.coleman.civ@mail.mil. For questions or concerns, contact the Army's Leo Sydlink by e-mail at Leo.J.sydlik.civ@mail.mil, or by phone at 410-278-2414.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/notices/f958d13185cc0d905a33e4922ebc173f.

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