Sailors assigned to the "Wildcards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 prepare to move an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle to the hangar bay aboard littoral combat ship USS Coronado. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Deven Leigh Ellis/U.S. Navy
Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Defense contracting company Arête Associates has been awarded a $7.4 million contract by the U.S. Navy for technical support of the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis, or COBRA, program.
The deal, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, is a cost-plus-fixed-fee modification contract, meaning, that additional costs that may accumulate during the contract by Arête Associates will be reimbursed by the U.S. government for a pre-negotiated fee determined at the inception of the contract.
The AN/DVS-1 COBRA program conducts intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in the littoral battlespace for location and detection of minefields and obstacles in surf and beach zones prior to an amphibious assault. The COBRA system is carried by the MQ-8 Fire Scout drone.
The Fire Scout is semi-autonomous, and can be programmed to follow flight paths and operate with minimal pilot guidance. It can be launched from any ship capable of operating helicopters.
The Littoral Combat Ship is designed to operate in shallow coastal waters where larger ships cannot. It is a modular system that can be outfitted for a variety of missions, including patrols, interdiction, interdiction operations, and mine detection and clearance.
The program was originally developed in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 1990s. In 2004, the COBRA program was picked up by the U.S. Navy.
Earlier this year, Arête Associates was awarded an $8.5 million contract for the production of AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis subassemblies.
Work on the contract announced Monday will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2018. U.S. Navy fiscal 2016 research, development, test and evaluation funding in the amount of more than $2.6 million will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year, Pentagon officials said.