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PM UAS: Competing Small UAS contracts has resulted in 30% cost reduction

Colonel Tim Baxter, the U.S. Army’s Project Manager for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (PM UAS) and his deputy, Mr. Rich Kretzschmar, briefed reporters on their organization’s programs and systems at this week’s Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition. 

Col. Baxter noted that while the Army’s SUAS portfolio is largely in the hands of a single contractor (AeroVironment), PM UAS “has been focused on breaking away from that sole source.  Col. Baxter noted that the late 2012 award of a multi-award Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) task order contracts for “SUAS Products and Parts” to five vendors – AeroVironment, Altavian, Innovative Automation Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Elbit Systems – has resulted in a diversification of contracting.  Col. Baxter noted that 25% of awards have gone to companies other than AeroVironment and that PM UAS has seen a 30% reduction in associated cost. 

PM UAS added that PM UAS is seeking to do the same with SUAS-associated services via a new contract.

As to when the Army might finally move forward with a new Program of Record for a micro-UAS, Col. Baxter confirmed that the Army’s Capability Production Document (CPD) for a Family of Small UAS remains where it has been for years -- stuck within Army (G3) staffing channels.  Once approved, the CPD will provide the basis for providing, via a formal program, a Short Range Micro (SRM) UAS (a a vertical hover, perch and stare capability is desired) to complement the Program of Record RQ-11B RAVEN and RQ-20A PUMA systems.  

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