Leidos, Paramount USA, and Vertex were among the five teams that have entered the final phase of the US Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) “armed overwatch” aircraft prototype program.
The five teams were awarded a total of $19.3 million for prototype demonstrations and will advance Bronco II to the Phase III Operational Prototype Demonstration later this month.
The Bronco II is designed for ultimate mission flexibility. The aircraft’s unique internal Interchangeable Multi-Mission System Bay (IMSB) allows for a single airframe to be easily and rapidly re-configured to perform multiple roles (eg. ISR, SCAR, FAC(A), CAS) incorporating high-performance sensors, network communication systems, precision weapons, an electronic self-protection suite, and mission planning systems.
“Our team combines decades of experience both integrating and manufacturing cutting-edge airborne solutions for the warfighter,” said Gerry Fasano, Leidos Defense Group president. “We are thrilled to have been selected to compete in the final phase.”
“We believe that Bronco II is the definitive next-generation aircraft, which has been designed to be future-proofed against evolving operational requirements in the asymmetrical battlespace specifically inhabited by SOCOM,” said Ivor Ichikowitz, chairman of global aerospace and technology company, Paramount Group.
“Through our partnerships with Leidos, we are looking forward to building upon our 27-year legacy of designing and producing rugged technologically advanced systems. Our team has designed and developed an America-centric platform for the world market, and we are looking forward to bringing Bronco II back to America,” Ichikowitz added.
“Vertex has a 50-year legacy of supporting warfighter missions,” said Ed Boyington, President and CEO of Vertex Aerospace. “Vertex’s highly skilled employees will assemble the aircraft and provide the final systems support integration and launch the Bronco II for customer delivery from our Crestview, Florida facility. We are proud to be an integral part of this team.”