SIG Sauer Academy

US Army Unveils Soldier Borne Sensors Procurement Strategy

In a recent update to the Request for Information issued late last year to industry, the Army has unveiled its procurement strategy for Soldier Borne Sensors. SBS are quiet, lightweight, commercial off the shelf nano unmanned aerial systems, to be deployed at the Soldier level. The US Army has taken cues from Black Hornet, a system in use with the British Army for the past couple of years.

A proposed nano UAS that the Army wants to develop and field will be about the size of a Black Hornet, but will be a completely different UAS system, having no relationship to the Black Hornet. No vendor has yet been chosen and as such, no prototype photos are readily available. Nina Langli, shown here, holds a PD-100 Black Hornet unmanned aerial surveillance aircraft near its two charging stations at the National Defense Industrial Association Special Operations exhibit, Jan. 28, 2015. Langli works at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C. (Photo Credit: David Vergun)

They have invited industry, academia, individuals, and labs to participate in a face to face Industry Day and to as well as a second User Assessment. This User Assessment will be used to determine the best performing solution currently available within program cost constraints. The SBS program affordability cap constrains the average unit price over the first 2,423 systems procured to $14,997.00 or less. Product Manager Soldier Maneuver Sensors (PdM SMS) intends to purchase up to 200 systems based on the User Assessment results through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Tailored Logistics Support (TLS) Contracts in the third Quarter of Fiscal Year 2018 (3QFY18). Participation in the user assessment is mandatory to be considered for the FY18 purchase. Assessment activities will be conducted at Fort Belvoir, VA; Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), MD; and Fort AP Hill, VA from January 18th through March 2nd 2018.

The assessment will be kicked-off with a live Industry Day and 1-on-1 sessions at Fort Belvoir, VA on January 16th and 17th 2018. The purpose of the 1-on-1 sessions, which will be held on January 16th, is for vendors to deliver hardware for the User Assessment, provide instruction on basic operation of their hardware, and describe their hardware – all items delivered with a complete system, vendor part number for the complete system, all user-replaceable spare parts, and vendor part numbers for all spare parts. PdM SMS will use the part number data to request quotes from all participating vendors through the DLA TLS program. Vendors intending to participate in the User Assessment shall request a 1-on-1 session and bring five (5) complete systems of their solution for assessment to the 1-on-1. Vendors may also provide spare parts they believe may be necessary to sustain the five (5) systems over the course of five (5) weeks of assessment. The assessment will include at least sixteen (16) cumulative hours of flight.

The purpose of the Industry Day, which will be held on January 17th, is for PdM SMS to provide updated program information including acquisition strategy, schedule, and a detailed description of the User Assessment.

Participation in the User Assessment requires vendor attendance at four (4) events:
• Industry Day. The vendor must schedule a 1-on-1session on January 16th 2017 and attend the group session on January 17th 2017.
• Imagery collection for camera assessment. The Advanced Sensor Evaluation Facility on Fort Belvoir, VA will collect imagery from all systems under assessment on January 18th, 19th, and 22nd 2017. Vendor assistance is required for up to four (4) hours to ensure adequate imagery is collected. The timing of each vendor’s support will be scheduled to minimize total vendor support time and travel.
• Acoustic data collection. Acoustic data will be collected from each system under evaluation in anechoic chambers at APG, MD on January 18th, 19th, and 22nd 2017. The intent is to mount the air vehicles in a stationary position and command the motors to simulate various flight conditions. Vendor assistance is required for up to four (4) hours to command the motors during collection. The timing of each vendor’s support will be scheduled to minimize total vendor support time and travel.
• Soldier training. Soldier test participants will be trained at Fort AP Hill, VA on February 19th and 20th 2017. Vendor attendance is required for two (2) days to conduct the training.

All parties interested in the Industry Day and/or User Assessment have until 15:30 Eastern Standard Time (EST), 08 January 2018 to submit. Visit for full details.

11 Responses to “US Army Unveils Soldier Borne Sensors Procurement Strategy”

  1. Kev says:

    Words words, wow! Words words more words

  2. Dellis says:

    Ya know people might be more interested in this if they used attractive women as a spokesperson. Sorry, don’t mean to come off as sexist but geez

    • PPGMD says:

      I don’t think they work for them, the photo credit says she works at the Norwegian Embassy. This looks like a DOD photo (aka public domain) from a trade show that happened to have the drones. Maybe there were other photos, perhaps Ms Langli was the reason that this one was chosen.

      • Lt. Dan says:

        Perhaps I’m moving to Norway now

        • NCO says:

          Micro or nano drone if you like makes a lot of sense on the team level. Very useful for indoor work in daylight. Good way to check stairs 2 floors up and hallways. We just started experimenting with commercial cheap drone and I’m impressed with the potential. Integrates with a smartphone in JuggDef case nicely (used as a display) – not simple to use operationally though. I don’t have any experience with the hornet, it’s probably better.

          I want to meet Nina.

  3. Non-operator says:

    Nano UAS deployed down to the individual level? I think there’s still a strong argument to be made that not every rifleman needs a radio, let alone a UAS. But admittedly I haven’t worked with any Brits in many years so maybe the Black Hornet works well for them.

  4. Lasse says:

    That’s a weird strategy considering that no other company is currently anywhere near the size of FLIR/Prox BH…

  5. SShink says:

    Once you get over looking at the eye candy, you may realize that the equipment kinda looks like an old IBM 386 – color and styling.

  6. Will says:

    And now we know why the Army spent $17 Trillion dollars on mini drones. Truth is, I’d do the same thing if she was on the other side of the table.