USSOCOM picks five for Armed Overwatch demos
US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has selected a Leidos-led team among five contenders for the final phase of its Armed Overwatch aircraft prototype programme.
Leidos is working with Paramount USA and Vertex Aerospace.
The team takes a share of the $19.3 million allocated for prototype demonstrations. Leidos will provide its Bronco II for the Phase III Operational Prototype Demonstration in late June.
USSOCOM wants Armed Overwatch to deliver a new capability for close air support, precision strike and ISR missions. Shephard Defence Insight notes a requirement for up to 75 platforms to replace a fleet of U-28A (Pilatus PC-12) aircraft.
Other participants include MAG Aerospace (with the MC-208 Guardian), Textron Aviation Defense (AT-6E Wolverine), L3Harris Technologies (AT-802U Sky Warden) and Sierra Nevada (MC-145B Wily Coyote).
Bronco II —based on the Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft from Paramount — has been built to meet the specific needs of SOF, with a variety of optional payloads such as ELINT, medical supplies, resupplies, fuel drums and airdrops.
It can be reassembled in the field in less than 12h and features modular mission systems to enable rapid system changes, updates, additions, integration and removal. The internal Interchangeable Multi-Mission System Bay on Bronco II allows the aircraft to be reconfigured, while remotely deployed, in less than 2h.
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