American defence and aviation giant Leidos announced on 4 May that the company has teamed up with Paramount Group US and Vertex Aerospace to deliver the Bronco II, a new purpose-built, multi-mission aircraft. The aircraft will provide support to the Armed Overwatch Prototype Program, run by US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
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According to Leidos, this strategic relationship will combine decades of experience integrating, manufacturing and delivering cutting-edge airborne solutions to the warfighter.
“Leidos has a long history as a premier provider of airborne solutions," said Gerry Fasano, Leidos Defense Group president.
"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.”
The company also stated that the model will be built to serve the specific needs of US SOCOM. Manufacturing will be carried out in Crestview, Florida.
“Our collaboration with Vertex and Leidos will present best of capabilities for what will undoubtedly be a critical program to enable US Air Force Special Operations Command to deal effectively with the challenges and rigours of modern day asymmetrical warfare,” said Steve Griessel, CEO of Paramount Group US.
“The Bronco II was designed specifically for asymmetrical warfare and will operate at a fraction of the procurement and life cycle costs of an aircraft with similar mission applications and capabilities.”
Paramount Group is a South African-based defence conglomerate, which was responsible for developing the AHRLAC (Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft), more commonly known as the Bronco. Costing less than US$10 million per unit, the model offers a cheap alternative to UAS or manned reconnaissance aircraft, and is the first military fixed-wing aircraft to be designed and built in Africa.
“We are proud to team with Leidos and Paramount, as we share a commitment to deliver affordable state-of-the-art capabilities to combat the challenges posed by modern, multi-domain operations,” said Ed Boyington, Vertex Aerospace CEO and President.
“With a long track record of delivering excellence to our customers, we look forward to producing and supporting the purpose-built Bronco II aircraft and weapons system as a transformational tool for our warfighters.”