Leidos to Lead Team for US SOCOM Overwatch Program
The Bronco II. (PARAMOUNT)
Leidos has announced it will team with Paramount USA and Vertex Aerospace to offer the Bronco II – a derivative of the South African Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft (AHRLAC) – to the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) for that service’s Armed Overwatch requirement.
The rugged high-wing twin-boom pusher prop aircraft is designed with a detachable fuselage module which can carry various types of sensors or additional fuel, and can carry an array of close support weapons on underwing pylons. It is being offered in response to SOCOM’s requirement for an aircraft that could quickly respond to close-air-support, precision strike, and ISR missions in remote deployed environments.
Leidos says the Bronco II – named after the original OV-10 Bronco close-air-support aircraft – is air deployable to forward airstrips via C-17 (2) or C-130 (1), and the fuselage module can be swapped out within two hours.
“What SOCOM needs is a platform that it can operate from austere regions and provide surveillance and precision fires in support of small dis-aggregated ground teams,” commander of Air Force Special Operations Command LtGen Jim Slife told media in February.
Leidos will lead the teaming and will perform much of the systems integration work on the platform which be manufactured in Florida. “Leidos has a long history as a premier provider of airborne solutions,” Leidos Defense Group president Gerry Fasano said in a statement.
“The Bronco II demonstrates our commitment to providing the best-of-breed in technology, as well as our agility in meeting the needs of our country’s national security missions. This offering will leverage each company’s expertise to deliver cost-effective innovations for the warfighter.”