The Acquisitions Directorate has issued a Request for Proposal for demonstration of a Long Range/Ultra-Long Endurance (LR/U-LE) Unmanned Air System (UAS).
The Statement of Work (Attachment_1_-_Statement_of_Work_.pdf) indicates demonstration is expected to take place at Eglin Air Force Base. “The period of performance will be one year from the date of award which is estimated to occur in September 2018.”
The sensor package will include Electro-optical (EO) and Infrared (IR) Full Motion Video (FMV), Maritime Surveillance Radar, Radio Frequency/Direction Finding (RF/DF) sensor, with tactical communications radio/data link.
Minimum airframe performance in the full up configuration include 50 knot patrol speed, 15,000 foot ceiling, 24 hour endurance.
Takeoff and Recovery Wind Limits are 20 knot headwind, seven knot crosswind, and up to five knot gusts.
For identification the airframe will be equipped with Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System, Identification Friend or Foe, Mark XII/Mark XIIA, Systems (AIMS) certified (AIMS 03-1000A) Mode 3 A/C transponder with “IDENT” capability.
Presumably this will result in a RFP for a land based LR/U-LE UAS, but probably not before FY2021.
The specifications make it clear the Coast Guard is not looking at obtaining their own version of the Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) MQ-4C Triton UAS.
I would note that the demonstration provides no slack for trade-offs between search width, speed, and endurance to determine total area searchable. The 24 hour endurance is fixed. There is also no dash speed requirement. To me this suggest that the system is more for tracking than searching, although it could also do that as well.
There is also no mention of ViDAR as an alternative to Radar.
Given distance to operating area and the relatively slow speed of these assets, to maintain an asset on scene is going to require more than one sortie per day, probably more like two per day. That suggest that a 24/7/365 on scene capability will require five or six airframes.