Customer: U.S. Army
Type: experimental canard pusher
Program: IEW UAV (Intelligence Electronic Warfare Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)
Powerplant: not known
Significant date: October 31, 1986 (RFP issued), March 1987 (first flight)
The CM-30 was developed as part of the IEW UAV ((Intelligence Electronic Warfare/Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) effort, which spawned the very first U.S. Army UAV competition. In the early 1980s, Unmanned airborne vehicles were organized within the Army into three functional categories: Unmanned airborne vehicles were organized within the Army into three functional categories: Target acquisition designation and aerial reconnaissance system (TADARS), General purpose (intelligence and electronic warfare (IEW) UAVs and Expendables. The function of the general purpose category was reconnaissance and surveillance, and the Army program supporting this category was the IEW UAV, "an EAC and corps-level system."
A request for proposals (RFP) was issued on October 31, 1986, seeking proposals for an IEW UAV. The RFP stated that the IEW UAV was to be solicited as an NDI and that offerors must demonstrate their products' capabilities at their own expense. The objective of the planned procurement was to provide the Army with a complete off-the-shelf IEW UAV system consisting of: air vehicles; mission payloads; command, launch and recovery equipment; and support and training equipment. The closing date for submission of proposals was February 17, 1987. On or before that date the Army received proposals from three offerors, including CMI.
As described by an Army document of that period, The IEW UAV could: see deep; provide superior IMINT and multisensor support to EAC requirements and to the corps and its subordinate units; and provide timely interface to deep-targeting elements via the joint surveillance target attack radar system (JSTARS) ground station module (GSM). IEW UAV products were provided to the all-source analysis system (ASAS) for fusion into the commander's all-source intelligence products.
A typical IEW UAV mission would proceed in the following manner: After takeoff from the corps rear area, the IEW UAV would proceed forward to conduct its R&S mission. The imagery was downlinked to the JSTARS GSM and a reconnaissance exploitation report (RECCEXREP) was prepared and forwarded to corps through available communications. Upon completion of the mission, the air vehicle returned to the corps rear area for recovery. IEW UAV support was allocated to corps and division users by the G2, based on the commander's guidance and coordination with the G3. Mission planning and tasking was to be accomplished by the corps CM&D section and passed to the MI battalion (AE) for flight planning and execution.
CMI associated with Lockheed and won the contract on the IEW UAV program, with a string of other companies sub-contracting on various equipments, including Kaman-Sciences, Beech, SAIC, Hughes, Emerson, Ferranti, Aeromet, Brunswick, Collins, S-TEC, Sundstrand and Tracor. The CM-30 was largely based on the Rutan Long-EZ but featured a faceted nose for stealth and a flat nose tip that housed photographic equipment.
During March and April 1987, CMI and one other offeror demonstrated their IEW UAVs' capabilities at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Bob Cunningham, former Air Force SR-71 pilot, and Tony Hoskins, a civilian pilot and aero engineer, test flew the CM-30 prototype. The Army concluded that both offerors failed to successfully demonstrate several of the required capabilities and therefore determined that both were technically unacceptable and not susceptible to being made acceptable. Accordingly, the Army canceled the solicitation on June 17, 1987.
The company did get some interest from a government agency which helped develop the CM-30 platforms. The SDIO/BMDO also had their own project based on the same platform, the multi-purpose CM-30-3 drone. However it is not known how many prototypes of this variant were built, if any. Executives and program managers at SCI/GDE decided they should have a platform that could carry more equipment and heavier weights. The CM-30 was thus developed into the CM-44 (Scaled Composites Model 144), but as a person once associated to the early RPV effort recalls: "I think Burt would like to forget that. [California Microwave] gave a lot of headaches to a lot of people."