General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) will manufacture and perform demonstration flights of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) unmanned Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) aircraft. Following a 12-month base period that culminated in a critical design review (CDR), AFRL exercised a build and flight test option. GA-ASI’s innovative Gambit Series aircraft will validate the “genus/species” concept first developed by AFRL as part of the Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Platform Sharing (LCAAPS) program focused on building several aircraft variants from a common core chassis.
“Throughout our 30-year history, GA-ASI has pioneered the advancement of unmanned aircraft systems that support our warfighters,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “AFRL is moving forward with GA-ASI because we have the right background and experience to develop the OBSS aircraft at scale and on time, and we look forward to working with them to deliver another game-changing UAS.”
LCAAPS is a major air vehicle effort under AFRL’s Autonomous Collaborative Enabling Technologies (ACET) portfolio, which is focused on developing technologies for Autonomous Collaborative Platforms (ACP). The OBSS low-cost, highly modular unmanned attritable aircraft will extend a manned aircraft’s sensing range and act as a weapons bay, flying alongside it. In its February notice, the AFRL had described the desired aircraft as designed for limited life in terms of years, not decades, with no depot maintenance and limited field maintenance considerations. The design and manufacturing of OBSS will incorporate scalable and responsive manufacturing technologies.
General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With more than seven million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.