The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment (OUSD(A&S)) published an updated Blue sUAS list this week.
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The update adds four new models to the Blue sUAS list, representing “the first companies that have passed the vetting required for onboarding policy-compliant, commercial small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) into the Department of Defense (DoD),” according to the DIU press release, as part of the DIU’s Blue sUAS 2.0 project. (As a clarification, only specific aircraft models are “Blue sUAS Cleared,” not companies or manufacturers that may offer multiple products to different customer bases.)
The first approved drones to be added to the DIU “Blue UAS Cleared List” are:
- WingtraOne, by Wingtra
- Spirit, by Ascent AeroSystems
- eBee Tac, by senseFly, an AgEagle company
- AltaX, by Freefly Systems
“Systems added to this list do not require a DoD exception to policy to procure or operate as they have undergone a cyber-security evaluation, an NDAA compliance check, and were issued the necessary administrative documentation,” says the DIU announcement.
Addition to the Blue sUAS list is more than just a seal of approval. Since the General Services Administration (GSA) announced that procurement of drones would be limited to those on the Blue sUAS list, companies who want to do business with government customers must find a way on to the Blue sUAS list or ask customers to go through an exception or RFP process, which has led some companies to protest that the list is too limited.
In an effort to meet demand, DIU issued 11 agreements with vendors in October 2021 for a pilot program (Blue sUAS 2.0) “to prototype a new approval process while significantly increasing the variety of capabilities available to all branches of the U.S. military. This expansion will provide additional sUAS capabilities requested by the DoD and its federal partners, including infrastructure inspection, mapping, carrying secondary payloads, and more traditional reconnaissance tasks. ”
“The Blue UAS Cleared List will provide a common approval standard that can save the Services time and money, inform acquisition policy updates, and make it easier for troops to gain access to previously inaccessible commercial tech,” said Capt. Shelby Ochs, DIU program manager for Blue UAS. “Blue sUAS 2.0 vendors have been great partners while we prototype this new process for commercial-off-the-shelf sUAS.”
Ongoing updates to the Blue UAS website will provide additional updates on policy, approvals and frequently asked questions for vendors and government use of sUAS.
Read more about the Blue sUAS list:
- Blue sUAS Manufacturer Inspired Flight Introduces New Heavy Lift Drone: the IF1200A
- Freefly Alta X on Blue sUAS 2.0 List: Payload Flexibility for Varied Applications
- Blue sUAS and Public Safety: Adoramas James Bushey on New Challenges, and How to Get Started Anyway
- eBee TAC First Approved Drone Added to DIU Blue sUAS Cleared List
- NDAA Compliant, US Drone Manufacturers Petition Congress to Remove Blue sUAS Requirement from GSA
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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