DOD Developing Small, Unmanned Aerial System for Warfighters

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BY DAVID VERGUN, DOD NEWS

For the first time, the Defense Department and the entire federal government will have access to secure, trusted, and American-made commercial drones on the General Service Administration schedule, Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Kratsios announced at a virtual event hosted by the Defense Innovation Unit. 

This new DIU initiative, dubbed Blue sUAS, is the culmination of 18 months of work by the Army and DIU to tailor the best technology from U.S. and allied companies to develop small unmanned aircraft systems that can be safely adopted by men and women in uniform. During the Aug. 18 DIU event, Kratsios said it also has important impacts for the nation’s broader economic and national security. 

“UAS technologies have incredible promise and potential to not only provide great economic benefit for the American people, but also to enhance safety and security for our nation. We need a strong, secure domestic UAS manufacturing base to ensure American leadership in this critical field,” he said. “Blue sUAS represents a tremendous first step toward building a robust and trusted UAS domestic industrial base that ensures sustained delivery of highly-capable, secure UAS to the warfighters that depend on it.”  

DOD recognizes the growing value and capabilities of sUAS, from providing on-demand intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities in contested battle spaces, to routine monitoring of critical infrastructure, to transporting products, he said. However, until now, the Department was not able to adopt these systems safely due to security and supply chain concerns posed by Chinese-made sUAS, he added.

Through the work of Blue sUAS, five U.S.-manufactured drone configurations will be made available to provide trusted and secure sUAS options to the military and U.S. government. 

Blue sUAS also showcases how DOD partners with industry and allies to quickly pilot and scale cutting-edge technologies across the joint force and the other federal agencies.

Haven Wynne, General Services Administration supply chain management branch chief and program manager, said GSA is drawing up a 20-year contract, to include five-year options. He noted that the contract allows for the growth of additional accessories to be added to the platforms at a later time if required.

Blue sUAS also showcases how DOD partners with industry and allies to quickly pilot and scale cutting-edge technologies across the joint force and the other federal agencies.

Haven Wynne, General Services Administration supply chain management branch chief and program manager, said GSA is drawing up a 20-year contract, to include five-year options. He noted that the contract allows for the growth of additional accessories to be added to the platforms at a later time if required.

Blue sUAS also showcases how DOD partners with industry and allies to quickly pilot and scale cutting-edge technologies across the joint force and the other federal agencies.

Haven Wynne, General Services Administration supply chain management branch chief and program manager, said GSA is drawing up a 20-year contract, to include five-year options. He noted that the contract allows for the growth of additional accessories to be added to the platforms at a later time if required.

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