US military operates AeroVironment JUMP 20 drone in $8 million trial


Defense and security group AeroVironment has landed another military agency contract with an $8 million contract with the US military to supply and test a JUMP 20 medium-range drone for the first increment of the Future Tactical Uncrewed program. Aircraft System (FTUAS).

Notwithstanding the sizable revenue involved, the new US Army contract is even more significant as a potential opportunity in AeroVironment’s ambitions to become a regular and significant supplier to future tactical drone fleets. He asks the Arlington, Va.-based company to undertake testing of a single JUMP 20 drone on an accelerated schedule, which, if convincing, could earn craft status as an FTUAS aerial system. of choice.

AeroVironment’s JUMP 20 medium-range vertical take-off and landing drone is vying to provide air intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services to the US Army‘s FTUAS program with a drone that the company says offers a increased maneuverability and improved command and control over existing technology. Some brigade combat teams currently rely on Q-7B Shadow drones manufactured by AAI Corporation, which also supplies various US allied armies.

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Gaining a foothold by providing JUMP 20 drones and associated services, training and support to the US Army’s FTUAS program would therefore also give AeroVironment a potential opening to other allied armed forces also looking to upgrade their strategic drone fleets.

“With Increment 1 of the FTUAS program, the Army will test and field the JUMP 20 on an accelerated schedule as it seeks a replacement for the RQ-7B Shadow UAS currently deployed to brigade combat teams” , said Gorik Hossepian, vice president of AeroVironment. . “The combat-proven JUMP 20 is a rapidly deployable, runway-independent vertical take-off and landing solution for the military. Its ability to be deployed, operated and maintained from anywhere is a game-changer on theater and in situations where the enemy has invaded or destroyed infrastructure.

Convincing the U.S. military that the JUMP 20 drone represents the future of its FTUAS program would provide an additional boost to AeroVironment’s already growing business activity.

Earlier this month, for example, the company announced the acquisition of autonomous drone navigation technology company Planck Aerosystems, adding capabilities to its drones to negotiate take-off and landing platform scenarios. difficult, even mobile.

In recent months, it has also won $30 million in new contracts from various US and allied military agencies, including air assets covered by Ukraine aid packages passed by the US Congress. AeroVironment has also landed jobs worth more than $20 million to supply US Special Operations tactical missile systems, and now hopes to expand its presence in the US military by making JUMP 20 drones an integral part of the FTUAS fleet.

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The fixed-wing eVTOL craft has a flight capacity of over 14 hours and a range of 115 miles, with a payload of 30 pounds. The system can be configured and operational in less than 60 minutes and features a common autopilot and ground control system architecture providing a highly customizable modular platform that can be customized.

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