The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in support of the Research Component’s Foundation Pod is seeking information on procurement of a heavy-lift small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) to carry a LiDAR payload for mapping purposes.

The solicitation is here and the RFI itself is here.

NGA Research’s Foundation Pod over the past several years has utilized heavy-lift sUAS to carry small commercial off the shelf LiDAR sensors for highly accurate under-the-cloud mapping purposes.

The NGA’s Technical Performance Specifications for Heavy-Lift sUAS are as follows:

  • Compliance with 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, Section 848
  • All components from avionics to electronic are made and sourced in USA, but no ITAR restrictions
  • Size: < 1.5m when measured edge to edge when viewed from the top, without propellers on, but fully unfolded for flight
  • Battery based power supply
  • Less than 55lb maximum takeoff weight
  • Carry/fly with at least 20lb payload weight
  • Allows modular payload mounting
  • Dedicated payload power supply, capable of at least 18W load
  • 20 minutes minimum flight time with maximum payload
  • Has primary and secondary command and control communication links
  • Uses Mavlink communication protocol, PX4 based autopilot system and uses QGroundControl  as ground control software (GCS)
  • Flight modes: Manual, altitude hold, return to launch, autonomous landing, GNSS waypoint navigation
  • Failsafe logic: Return to launch or autonomous landing in the event of low battery voltage, communications loss and or GNSS loss
  • 0°F to 110°F operating flight temperature limits