Leidos has announced a teaming agreement with Paramount Group USA and Vertex Aerospace to offer the Bronco II aircraft for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Armed Overwatch prototype program.
“This strategic relationship, with Leidos as the prime contractor and Paramount and Vertex as primary teammates, will combine decades of experience integrating, manufacturing, and delivering cutting-edge airborne solutions to the warfighter”, said a statement released by Leidos.
The Bronco II is a rugged, affordable, and sustainable two-crew multi-mission aircraft that can be used for tactical C4ISR and precision strike aircraft based on South Africa-based Paramount Group’s AHRLAC aircraft.
The Leidos offering is built the aircraft to meet the specific needs of U.S. Special Operations Command. The statement said that the aircraft will be manufactured in Crestview, Fla.
“Leidos has a long history as a premier provider of airborne solutions,” said Gerry Fasano, Leidos Defense Group president. “The Bronco II demonstrates our commitment to providing the best-of-breed in technology, as well as our agility in meeting the needs of our country’s national security missions. This offering will leverage each company’s expertise to deliver cost-effective innovations for the warfighter.”
“Our collaboration with Vertex and Leidos will present best of capabilities for what will undoubtedly be a critical program to enable U.S Air Force Special Operations Command to deal effectively with the challenges and rigors of modern day asymmetrical warfare,” said Steve Griessel, CEO of Paramount Group USA. “The Bronco II was designed specifically for asymmetrical warfare and will operate at a fraction of the procurement and lifecycle costs of an aircraft with similar mission applications and capabilities.”
“We are proud to team with Leidos and Paramount, as we share a commitment to deliver affordable state-of-the-art capabilities to combat the challenges posed by modern, multi-domain operations,” said Ed Boyington, Vertex Aerospace CEO and President. “With a long track record of delivering excellence to our customers, we look forward to producing and supporting the purpose-built Bronco II aircraft and weapons system as a transformational tool for our warfighters.”
In early 2018, Paramount Group USA announced the launch of Bronco II two-crew tactical C4ISR and precision strike aircraft based on the AHRLAC aircraft.
AHRLAC (Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft) is a light reconnaissance and counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft developed in South Africa by AHRLAC Holdings, a joint venture between the Paramount Group and Aerosud.
The twin-boomed Bronco II light attack aircraft is capable of carrying a wide range of weapons, sensors and systems in extended airborne mission operations. It is a unique platform that is built for purpose; uses a pusher propeller and has an open system architecture allowing for the rapid incorporation of current and emerging systems, setting a new standard for mission flexibility and adaptability.
The namesake of the new light aircraft is the North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco, the U.S. aircraft developed in the 1960s as a special aircraft for counter-insurgency (COIN) combat and used today by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to hunt ISIS militants in Iraq.
USSOCOM Armed Overwatch Program
The Armed Overwatch Program will provide the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) with a deployable, affordable, and sustainable manned aircraft system fulfilling Close Air Support (CAS), Armed Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (Armed ISR), Strike Coordination & Reconnaissance (SCAR), and Forward Air Controller (Airborne) (FAC(A)) requirements in austere and permissive environments for the Countering-Violent Extremist Organization (C-VEO) missions.
According to the Commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Lt. Gen. James Slife, the new Armed Overwatch aircraft will also eventually replace the AFSOC’s U-28 Draco intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft fleet.
The USSOCOM is planning the award of an Other Transaction Authority (OTA) Agreement for the program. The flight demonstrations of the selected prototypes are scheduled to occur in November 2020.
The OTA Agreement will include a provision for a potential follow-on production contract to be awarded without additional competition. The follow-on contract is expected to be an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) with a base 5-year ordering period and a 2-year option ordering period and an estimated quantity of 75 aircraft with associated support.