USSOCOM to Procure ‘Highly Modified’ Dash 8 Mission Support Aircraft

The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is planning to procure a ‘highly modified’ De Havilland Canada DHC-8 (Dash 8) aircraft, for mission support operations.

The procurement for DHC-8 Fixed Wing Mission Support Aircraft was announced in a presolicitation notice issued on the Federal contracting website,

The intended source of the procurement is Leidos Inc., which, according to the USSOCOM, is the “only source with the product and engineering technical data required to support the delivery of an airworthy modified DHC-8 without substantial duplication of cost and schedule based upon previously certified specific DHC-8 configurations delivered to the Government”.

“The proposed contract action is for supplies or services for which the Government intends to solicit and negotiate with only one source under the authority of FAR 6.302-1, Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The Government does not possess a product (“Level III”) technical data package (TDP) suitable for competitive procurement for this requirement”, said the notice.

Leidos has already supplied Dash 8-based Airborne Reconnaissance Low-Enhanced (ARL-E) and Saturn Arch intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms to the U.S. military.

The ARL-E, designated RO-6A, is a manned multiple-intelligence (Multi-INT) airborne platform operated by the U.S. Army that provides a persistent capability to detect, locate, classify/identify and track surface targets in day/night, near-all-weather conditions, with a high degree of timeliness and accuracy. ARL-E consists of a modified DHC-8-Q315 fixed-wing aircraft equipped with a reconfigurable payload with enhanced Communications Intelligence (COMINT) and Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) sensors.

The Saturn Arch Program began in 2010 with an effort to implement ISR capabilities to a special mission aircraft fitted with state of the art sensor technology to identify and assist in removing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from the battlefield in Afghanistan. The aircraft was initially operated by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) but was later transferred to the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).

RO-6A Airborne Reconnaissance Low-Enhanced (ARL-E) - U.S. Army
The U.S. Army’s RO-6A Airborne Reconnaissance Low-Enhanced (ARL-E) aerial ISR platform based on DHC-8 aircraft. Photo Courtesy: U.S. Army.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.