US Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment Receives Increment 0 Future Tactical UAS

The United States Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment has received an AeroVironment JUMP 20 unmanned aerial system to replace its RQ-7B Shadow tactical surveillance drones. The JUMP 20 system was procured under Increment 0 of the Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (FTUAS), a three-stage program pursuing an Army-wide replacement of the Shadow.

Program Executive Office Aviation’s Unmanned Aircraft Project Office delivered the Increment 0 system to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany on October 6. The Increment 0 system delivered to meet the Regiment’s urgent operational requirements is a refurbished JUMP 20 system previously purchased and operated by PEO Aviation for a year-long user test event, part of a “buy-try-inform” effort that resulted in the selection of the JUMP 20 for Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial System Increment 1 in August.

An Aerovironment JUMP 20 makes a vertical landing at the FTUAS Rodeo. One JUMP20 system is being supplied under FTUAS Increment 0 to meet an urgent operational requirement (U.S. Army Photo by Mr. Luke J. Allen)

According to PEO Aviation, the JUMP 20 has similar performance to the Shadow, but can be set up for use faster, with soldiers said to be able to emplace the system for use in under 45 minutes. The system’s vertical takeoff and landing capabilities provide increased agility compared to the Shadow’s runway requirement, while requiring less ground support equipment and vehicles to transport than the Shadow. Additionally, the JUMP 20 has a smaller sound signature than the Shadow, enhancing its survivability.

The delivery of the Increment 0 system to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment follows the Army’s announcement that it had taken delivery of the first JUMP 20 system being procured under FTUAS Increment 1 last month. The Increment 1 system was delivered to Redstone Arsenal on September 12, where its component air vehicles and ground systems will undergo environmental, transportability, and flight testing. Following the completion of tests, the Increment 1 system will then be delivered to a Brigade Combat Team for operational testing, with an AeroVironment representative telling Janes at the 2022 annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army that tests on Increment 1 were expected to begin “very shortly”.

FTUAS Increment 2 is a separate competitive program continuing independently of but in parallel with the Increment 1 award and testing, with lessons learned from Increment 1 informing the future direction of the program. According to PEO Aviation, Increment 2 will feature multiple vendors competing to develop a “fieldable product” by fiscal 2025.