Kratos Unmanned Systems Division (KUSD) has won a contract to design and develop an off board sensing station (OBSS) uncrewed aerial system (UAS).

The US Air Force (USAF) awarded the contract in support of Air Force Research Laboratory ’s (AFRL) Autonomous Collaborative Platforms (ACP) technology maturation portfolio.

The 12-month cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is valued at $17.6m.

Kratos noted that work will be performed at the company’s US engineering and technology facilities in Texas, California, and Oklahoma for the next year.

According to the company, the OBSS programme includes optional subsequent manufacture and demonstration for a period of 15 months.

Including the base and option awards, the total contract value awarded to Kratos stands at $49m.

The Kratos’ OBSS UAS will be designed as a lower-cost and highly modular conventional take-off and landing jet-powered vehicle.

Furthermore, the solution will serve as a weapons bay extension for manned aircraft by housing a considerable volume of offensive weapons.

OBSS is part of the company’s low-cost autonomous collaborative platforms (ACP) fleet.

The ACP family is designed to employ weapons, sensors, and other effects that generate affordable, force multiplier combat power with a forward force posture.

Kratos Defense and Security Solutions president and CEO Eric DeMarco said: “Kratos is committed to disrupting the government contractor national security market by providing rapid, agile, affordable, and relevant systems to our defence customers.

“The recent selection of Kratos to develop next-generation OBSS aircraft for our partner, the US Air Force, re-affirms our approach to treat affordability as a technology.

“Kratos Ghost Works, which played a significant role in the design of our OBSS system, has once again demonstrated that our real, proven, digital engineering process, methodology, assets, and infrastructure are optimized for affordable system development.”