On 8 October 2012, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory awarded a contract valued at up to $3 million to Colorado-based Scion UAS, LLC to develop a ship-launched, vertical take-off and landing UAV. The SA-400 Jackal will be a turbine powered VTOL optionally-piloted vehicle (OPV) that can carry a 100 lb payload for more than 5 hours. The systems will be capable of autonomous launch and recovery from a moving ship and utilized in the development of new sensor systems. In an unmanned configuration, the aircraft sells for $1.4 million.
The aircraft made its first flight in the summer of 2013 and the NRL contract calls for a demonstration of the UAS in spring 2015.
Scion UAS Successfully Completes First SA-400 Flight
6 August 2013 - Scion UAS completed the first test flights of the production SA-400 Jackal. The first flight comes after extensive flight tests of the prototype helicopter and shortly after receiving a special airworthiness certificate for experimental research and development for the optionally piloted SA-400 helicopter.