USSOCOM selects Sky Warden for Armed Overwatch production
USSOCOM has picked L3Harris Technologies and Air Tractor’s AT-802U Sky Warden aircraft for the command's Armed Overwatch programme.
An IDIQ contract for the acquisition includes a cost ceiling of $3 billion and will see delivery of up to 75 of the single-turboprop aircraft, with an initial contract award of $170 million, according to a 1 August L3Harris news release.
The new aircraft will replace legacy Pilatus U-28A Draco platforms.
'The fleet of modern multi-mission aircraft will address SOCOM’s need for a deployable, sustainable single-engine fixed-wing, crewed and affordable aircraft system,' noted the manufacturer.
'It will provide close air support, precision strike, armed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), strike coordination and forward air controller requirements for use in austere and permissive environments.'
L3Harris also plans on modifying the Sky Warden prototype demonstrator flight-tested in summer 2021 into a production configuration so USSOCOM can begin weapon testing inside the next six months.
Complete mission-capable production aircraft are to be manufactured from 2023 at the company's Tulsa, Oklahoma, modification centre after initial production at Air Tractor’s Olney, Texas facility.
Low-rate initial production Lot 1 will see a first batch of six aircraft manufactured.
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