The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has announced the launch of Blue sUAS, an acquisition program for federal agencies to purchase secure small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) as an alternative to Chinese-made drones, FedScoop reported on Thursday.
“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,” said Michael Kratsios, acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering and 2020 Wash100 Award recipient.
The program will launch in Sept. 2020 on the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). Blue sUAS will enable agencies to acquire drones that have been vetted and cleared by the federal government.
Blue sUAS drones will be developed with open software architectures to add versatility across a variety of ground hardware configurations. The program was designed to allow agencies to purchase drones and plug-and-play the hardware into a common software system.
Federal agencies from across the government will be able to purchase drones through the program. Agencies from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Department of the Interior (DoI) have all had an interest in drones but ran into security challenges using Chinese-made products. Components of the Department of Defense (DoD) will also be able to also pursue production contracts through the Other Transaction Authority (OTA).
“Blue sUAS is a great example of DOD acquisition reform by lowering the barrier to entry for non-traditional companies to rapidly iterate shoulder to shoulder with warfighters to deliver highly-capable sUAS tailored to mission needs,” Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and four-time Wash100 Award recipient, said.
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5G wireless technology is anticipated to unleash unprecedented levels of connectivity between millions of new internet of things devices and there are already a range of deployments making their way across the U.S. and in a few federal agencies.
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