The Royal Navy are urgently looking for drones to be integrated onto forward deployed warships to to counter fast attack craft.
A tender to industry specifies that the bidder must have the ability to supply a ‘Rotary Wing Air Vehicle’ able to operate embarked within the constraints posed by a warship, with integrated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (including a Maritime Surface Surveillance Radar), and the Air System must be able to supply/disseminate/process information.
The tendering notice reads as follows:
“The requirement is for the provision of a number of Uncrewed Air Systems (UAS) and ancillaries under a Military Owned Military Operated (MOMO) arrangement to be delivered to the Royal Navy (RN) and Integrated onto a Naval Warship, to provide the RN with a Flexible Tactical Uncrewed Air System (FTUAS) Urgent Capability Requirement (UCR) for RN forward presence shipping to counter Crewed and Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USVs) in an operational theatre. The requirement will also require the Contractor to provide a FTUAS system at a UK Royal Navy Air Station, technical information, through life support, as well as the provision of training for operators and maintainers.
The requirement is for a capability to FIND, FIX, TRACK and ASSESS Fast Inshore Attack Craft, Crewed and Uncrewed, operating alone, in large numbers.
It is anticipated that the solution will permanently embark on a Naval Warship to provide a persistent, intimate, integrated and assured capability. The ability to operate at sufficient range from its parent ship to facilitate timely decision making is anticipated as is the need for a Maritime Surface Surveillance Radar to satisfactorily deliver “FIND”.
It is anticipated that the equipment will be in service for a period of 24 months from the date of the delivery of the initial operating capability (IOC), with options including a Contract extension up to an additional 24 months, subject to Ministry of Defence approval. It is anticipated that a maximum of 4 (four) suppliers (who achieved the best overall score) will be invited to submit formal tenders, based on the evaluation criteria contained within the PQQ documents. However, the Authority will have the discretion to vary the total number of potential providers that will or will not be taken through to the ITN phase. The maximum number of tenderers who will be invited to participate in the negotiation phase of the procurement process will be 3 (three) depending on the results of the initial tender evaluation. However, the Authority will have the discretion to vary the total number of tenderers who we will initiate negotiations with.”
The Ministry of Defence also specify that they are looking for a mature system, possibly with some civil approvals and that needs little adaptation or modification to meet the requirement and be deployable in the operational theatre at sea.
The system is expected to enter service in 2023.