The Next Generation Insitu Product: Integrator
Wired.com’s Danger Room has a great piece on the future of the Unmanned Systems business. Needless to say, if you’re somebody in the supply chain already, this makes you look pretty smart:
But based on current tech trends (everything always gets more expensive), anticipated (that is to say, flat) budgets and projected threats (China and terrorists, as usual), the military believes it can make do for the next three decades with air fleets roughly the same size as today’s — with just one big exception. The robot air force will double in just the next nine years.
Not bad if you’re in the business. If you’re not, well, you might want to reconsider. Check out the full piece here.
Another Pickup for Insitu (Photo Courtesy of Insitu)
In case you haven’t heard by now, PNDC member Insitu has racked up another win. This time they won a contract valued at more than $83M to support the currently fielded Scan Eagle systems, which are also built by Insitu. While this win isn’t necessarily a big surprise to observers, it is certainly a sign of the Navy’s continued confidence in Insitu to deliver high-quality services to the warfighters in the field. Congrats to everyone on Team Insitu for the win!
From a Department of the Navy press release:
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. –The Department of the Navy announced today that Insitu, Inc. has been awarded a $43.7 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) of the Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System.
The STUAS contract award is the culmination of a competitive source selection process supported by personnel from Naval Air Systems Command, Marine Corps Systems Command and the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical UAS program office (PMA-263) in Patuxent River.
“I’m looking forward to fielding the capabilities of STUAS to our forward deployed forces,” said Capt. JR Brown, PMA-263 Program Manager. “This critical system will greatly increase their intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in theater.”
Insitu will complete a two-year EMD effort to mature its UAS design to meet the STUAS performance-based specification requirements. They will provide land-based and ship-based assets and associated support to complete integrated test and prepare for production.
The contract includes priced options for an Early Operational Capability and Low Rate Initial Production systems and associated support.
STUAS will provide ISR support for Marine Corps land forces, Naval Special Warfare Command and Navy ships, according to Brown. The system will eventually replace the Navy and Marine Corps ISR services contract, under which current ISR missions are being conducted in Iraq, Afghanistan and during shipboard operations.
Wow…. that was out of left field. Congrats to Insitu and everybody invoved in their supply chain. This is big news for the Northwest!
Yet Another Delay for STUAS Tier-II (Photo Courtesy of Insitu)
Well, after the Navy had insisted that the STUAS Tier-II decision would be made this summer, we’re back to mysterious delays yet again. This time, the Navy says they need another nine months. From Flightglobal:
Capt J R Brown, STUAS programme manager, credits the latest delay to taking extra vigilance with taxpayer dollars.
“Discussions have been, and continue to be, required to understand and clarify industry’s proposed solutions to meet the warfighter’s requirements,” Brown says.
It’s been three years now, and we’re still clarifying. This is becoming theater of the absurd.
Read the full article by Stephen Trimble on Flightglobal.com
Pictured is the "Integrator", Insitu's offering in the STUAS competition
If you haven’t heard, the Navy is hosting a little competition known as Small Tactical Unmanned Air Systems (STUAS), Tier II. At stake are around a billion dollars in business over 10 years, and de facto leadership in the small UAV market segment within DoD. Insitu (a PNDC member) of Bingen, WA has a lot riding on this competition. Here in the Northwest, a boatload of Insitu subcontractors have grown up with the company’s Scan Eagle UAV. Quite a few of them are holding their breath for a long overdue decision from the Navy on the fate of the Integrator, Insitu’s entry in the STUAS Tier II competition. The Navy originally intended to make a final decision in 2007, but the decision has been slipping to the right for what feels like an eternity, with no hint at when a final call will be made. Until now?
One of our eagle-eyed members picked up a quote from Insitu CEO Steve Sliwa, buried in an article in The Oregonian dated 17 April. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“Sliwa said his attention is focused these days on a Pentagon decision, expected within 30 days, about expanding its use of unmanned robotic aircraft.”
Is the Navy preparing to make a decision? I, for one, have no idea. As they say over at Fox News: we report, you decide.
Read the full article from The Oregonian here.
PS: There are also a couple of interesting nuggets about Insitu’s facilities for those of you who follow the company closely.
Filed under Uncategorized