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The US Army is interested in fielding a next-generation drone weighing less than 5 pounds and flown by a single operator. As part of this effort to refresh its unmanned aircraft system technology portfolio, the Army has awarded the Short Range Reconnaissance Prototype (SRR) contract to Altavian, a U.S.-based UAS engineering and manufacturing firm.

The program is intended to augment the existing fleet of small UAS currently deployed by the Army in short range and urban environments. This endeavor is being spearheaded by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), working with PEO Aviation, to speed prototype deployment and guide program development.

This contract is scheduled to continue into 2020. Under DIU’s guidance, in close coordination with PM UAS, the selected system has the potential to become the Army’s newest UAS program of record.

In March 2018, Altavian won a competitive contract to provide products for the existing UAS fleet, including avionics, radios, ground controllers, and spare parts. The company is now simultaneously supporting legacy systems with a full capability set while developing for future programs of record, according to

Altavian has been working alongside organizations including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NASA, and the U.S. Army. It embraces open architecture in its system design to bring proven commercial concepts to Group I UAS. This group refers to drones with an 0-20 pound maximum take-off weight, such as the RQ-11 Raven.

The modular open system approach fosters innovative design and contracting flexibility for all Group I UAS, according to the company website.