US Army Awards Leidos Airborne Reconnaissance Low-Enhanced Contract

US national security, health and engineering solutions company Leidos of Reston, Virginia, has been awarded a prime contract by the US Army to carry out design, production, integration and testing for the Airborne Reconnaissance Low-Enhanced (ARL-E) programme. The single-award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract, announced by the company on November 24, has a five-year period of performance and a total ceiling value of $661,840,250. The deal was awarded to Leidos on November 5.

The ARL-E is a manned multi-intelligence airborne platform 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. The first task order under the IDIQ will provide the System of Systems (SoS) integration of an extensible Mission Equipment Payload (MEP), including the modification of Bombardier Dash 8 Srs 315 aircraft.

Through the duration of the IDIQ task order contract, Leidos, with its partner Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and teammates Argon ST (a Boeing Company), L-3 ComCept and Dynamic Aviation, will provide low-cost, high-maturity solutions using a flexible open architecture that enables integration of future capabilities, promotes growth, and maximises the US Army’s investments.

Leidos has years of airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) experience supporting a variety of military customers, including the US Army. The Leidos team has operationally integrated and flown every type of Government identified sensor in the ARL-E solicitation, validating its offering for the ARL-E MEP as a technologically sound, low-risk solution, says the company.

The ARL-E uses the Dash 8-315 aircraft and is intended to replace the current ARL-M (Multifunction) aircraft, the EO-5B/C Crazy Hawk, based on the Dash 7 airframe. Leidos, which won the contract in competition with two other, unspecified, bidders, will carry out the design, architecture engineering, configuration management, system integration, aircraft integration, testing, technical and logistics support for the ARL-E. Estimated ontract completion date is November 3, 2020.

The US Army has bought six Dash 8-315s from Dynamic Aviation for the ARL-E requirement, under a contract announced by the US Department of Defense on April 7 this year. These have already been operating for the US Army for a number of years on lease from Dynamic and are already fitted with either the Desert Owl or Saturn Arch counter-improvised explosive device systems.

Earlier this year, on January 26, US Army Contracting Command officials had revealed details of the plans to replace the nine ARL-M Dash 7 aircraft with a similar number of ARL-E Dash 8s. The new configuration will add additional ISR equipment, including new wide-area surveillance sensors, which will include light detection and ranging (LIDAR) detectors, hyperspectral imaging (HSI) sensors and interfaces with the Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A).

Northrop Grumman announced on September 24 that it is involved in another element of ARL-E. The company has been awarded a contract to develop a new Long-Range Radar for the aircraft. It will be a synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indicator system, combining the existing Generation 2 Vehicle and Dismount and Exploitation Radar (VADER) back-end electronics with a high-technology readiness level AESA radar. Alan Warnes