03/04/2015 by Joseph Carpenter - DefenceIQ
An RFP is being prepared by the Royal Netherlands Army for a replacement system to its 25-strong AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven UAV fleet with an expected issue date of early 2015.
The Raven support contract is coming to an end and the senior UAS adviser to the commander of the army has identified three user groups that would benefit from a small UAV capability, as revealed in December at Defence IQ’s UAS Training and Simulation conference in London. These groups are the country’s Special Forces (including the marines) with up to a one-hour endurance; reconnaissance units with a mid-range operating requirement; and national security forces with up to a three-hour endurance need. The military police are also anticipating an unmanned rotary-wing capability. It is therefore believed that any new system, which is likely to enter service at the end of 2015, would need to offer modular options to support a variety of payloads.
Among the requirements for the new fleet is the need for new flight simulators (both fixed and mobile), alongside maintenance, lifecycle support and potentially instructorship. The Army is also currently undertaking concept work on a flapping-wing micro-UAV for infantry to deploy on short reconnaissance missions.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Air Force currently operates the larger medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) MQ-9 Reaper by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The Navy is also likely to seek a ship-based surveillance UAV capability within the next two years.