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US Air Force Picks Four Firms for Modular Drone Test Vehicle Project

The US Air Force has selected four defense firms to develop prototypes of a modular drone as a test vehicle for various payloads.

Anduril, Leidos Dynetics, Zone 5 Technologies, and Integrated Solutions for Systems edged out more than 100 vendors who submitted proposals for the Enterprise Test Vehicle (ETV) project.

Under the program, selected companies will leverage commercial and dual-use technologies in developing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can be produced at high rates and affordable costs.

It must be able to support future testing of payloads, such as sensors and other military technologies for airborne operations.

“The ETV presents an opportunity to leverage promising ideas from industry to create and refine affordable designs for test capabilities that can be produced on a relevant timeline,” US Air Force Acquisition Assistant Secretary Andrew Hunter said.

Additional Requirements

The modular drone test vehicle must fly a minimum range of 500 nautical miles (575 miles/926 kilometers) and a speed of 100 knots (185 kilometers/115 miles per hour).

It must also be able to deliver “kinetic payloads,” according to the sources-sought notice.

The US Air Force wants the test vehicle launched in multiple ways, such as from the back of a cargo aircraft.

Additionally, the drone should utilize an open systems architecture approach to accommodate future capabilities.

The four selected vendors must have their prototypes ready for flight demonstration later this year.

At least one promising prototype will be chosen for further development.

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