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Tactical Surrogate Aircraft

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWC-AD) Specialized and Proven Aircraft Program Office (PMA-226) announced 20 October 2021 that it was seeking information regarding industrys ability to provide a Tactical Surrogate Aircraft to be used and integrated as a key tool for future fighter pilot training. This aircraft would support three training tasks: augment flight time and training in frontline Type Model Series (TMS) aircraft, provide adversary air support, and serve as a flight lead aircraft for Fleet Replacement Squadrons. The aircraft needs to simulate and/or replicate current and future fighter aircraft systems by providing the training environment and relevant experience to build tactical skills, systems management skills, and decision making skills required for weapon system employment actions. These actions will be influenced by environmental information, avionics outputs, sensor data, weapon-cueing, and maneuver elements.

The purpose of this Sources Sought Notice is to determine the feasibility and estimated cost and schedule to develop a tactical surrogate aircraft. The results of this Sources Sought will also be utilized to determine if any Small Business Set-Aside opportunities exist. All Small Business Set-Aside categories will be considered. The notional aircraft quantity is 64 over a 3 and 4 year period with the program initiating in FY24 or FY25.

Tactical Surrogate Aircraft initial capabilities and attributes to be considered for feasibility and estimated cost and schedule are listed below. This list is not all-inclusive.

  • Two-seat fighter type aircraft configured for single seat operations with alternate options for rear cockpit use.
  • Minimum level aircraft speed of at least .9 indicated Mach number (IMN) / 450-500 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) at 10,000 feet mean sea level (MSL) with aircraft structural limit 1.2 IMN minimum
  • Minimum ceiling of at least 45,000 feet MSL
  • Minimum G force structural limits of at least 7.5 G with sustained 6 G at 10,000 feet MSL
  • Minimum fuel / range / endurance for an average sortie duration of at least 90 minutes to include 30 minutes of tactical maneuvering, plus the ability to fly the following profiles:
    1. Profile 1: Basic Fighter Maneuvering (BFM) mission profile (Takeoff (T/O) 100 NM transit @ 20k, 2 x 180 G-awareness turns, 4 x BFM sets of 720 afterburner turns, climbs from 5k to 15k between sets, return to base (RTB) 100 NM w/ VFR fuel reserves)
    2. Profile 2: Air-to-Air mission profile (T/O 150 NM transit @ 26k, 2 x 180 G-awareness turns, 30 min tactical maneuvering at 0.9 IMN and altitudes 15-35k, RTB 150 NM w/ VFR fuel reserves)
    3. Profile 3: Air-to-Ground mission profile (T/O 100 NM transit @ 26k, 2 x 180 G-awareness turns, 30 min tactical maneuvering at 450 KIAS and altitudes 500-25k, RTB 100 NM w/ VFR fuel reserves)
  • Secure, open architecture large area displays with an additional input port to enable the capability to display additional inputs (separate from and parallel to the aircraft Operational Flight Program [OFP]) to replicate frontline TMS aircraft displays and enable simulated displays of aircraft combat systems, simulated inputs, and simulated weapons.
  • A universal stick and throttle connection to enable reconfiguration of the stick and throttle quadrant to mimic Hands-on Stick and Throttle (HOTAS) of frontline TMS aircraft.
  • Ability to configure and program HOTAS buttons to replicate multiple frontline TMS aircraft.
  • Large area displays with dual inputs to provide configurable display information from a separate input and navigation via OFP input to replicate frontline TMS displays.
  • The programmable and portable capability separate from aircraft OFP will be government owned (non-proprietary) to replicate frontline aircraft displayed offensive and defensive combat systems, and weapons performance parameters.
  • The programmable HOTAS buttons to replicate the TMS aircraft displays and functions will be Government owned (non-proprietary)
  • Secure transmissions and reception for radio communications, navigation, and training data links via SATURN, TCTS II + RedNet, MIDS.
  • Secure embedded, programmable flight cockpit digital simulation and training capability that can receive inputs via data link.
  • Required communication/navigation systems: color moving map, 2 x UHF/VHF capable radios, ADS-B in/out, VOR/TCN, RNAV 1 & 2 and RNP .3, 1, & 2 capable.
  • Secure capability to provide combat identification compatible with USN TMS via simulated or actual systems.
  • Aircraft wing is structured, capable, and configurable to carry as potential mission kits:
    1. Captive Air Training Missile (CATM) on one wingtip and a Tactical Combat Training System, 2nd Generation pod (TCTSII) or an Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation pod (ACMI) pod on the other wingtip
    2. A single wing station, on each wing, to carry an external fuel tank or a pod
    3. A wing station to carry and provide power for an Electronic Attack (EA) or Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) pod
  • The ability to record to a data storage device and/or download all flight data and performance information, GPS location, systems displays and switch actions for the purpose to synchronize the information with other aircraft for sortie reconstruction and debrief (Government retains rights to all data recorded)
  • Low Cost Helmet-Mounted Display that displays relevant flight information. Display configurable to mirror multiple frontline TMS aircraft.
  • Precision Landing Mode capability
  • Aircraft must be capable of rolling over BAK-12 field arresting gear during takeoff and landing roll.


The Government is also interested in the feasibility and estimated cost and schedule for the following additional capabilities to be considered as potential options for future fighter training and should be broken out separately:

  • 1. Aircraft generators sufficient to power wing stations, antennas and avionics stations with sufficient growth capacity to support follow-on incorporation of ECM, IR sensor, and radar or threat emulator capabilities
  • 2. Automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto-GCAS).
  • 3. Autopilot with altitude and heading hold, option to auto-sequence to steer points.
  • 4. An ejection seat capability for zero altitude, zero airspeed (Zero-Zero Ejection seat)
  • 5. Engineering analysis for cost to remove rear crew station and replace with permanent additional fuel or avionics bay volume. Single seat outer mold-line should remain the same.
  • 6. Engineering analysis for cost of option for a universal engine bay design to enable form/fit/function to use engines from multiple vendors
  • 7. Engineering analysis for cost of option for an Air-to-Air refueling capability via refueling probe and drogue or from a boom receptacle.
  • 8. Engineering analysis for cost of option for an internal Infrared Search and Track (IRST) or data-link cued Infra-red sensor (for development of future Adversary Variant).
  • 9. Engineering analysis for cost of option for radar or data-link cued threat emulator (for development of future Adversary Variant).
  • 10. Engineering analysis for cost of option for an internal training Electronic Attack system (for development of future Adversary Variant).
  • 11. Smart Chair: An advanced smart chair of the aircraft cockpit and HOTAS, to provide a virtual reality (VR) for ground based practice of all flying capabilities with artificial intelligence (AI) provided capability for assessment and demo capability; for use within all Squadron secure or unsecure facilities/space. An advanced VR smart chair with capability to upload previous flight performance information to review and ID points for rehearsal or assessment

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Page last modified: 29-03-2022 17:21:38 ZULU