DoD funds target small unmanned aerial systems initiative

The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has earmarked $14 million to companies in accordance with efforts to ensure a small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) industrial base.

Officials indicated the allotment via the Defense Production Act would be awarded to Systems and Technology Research LLC DBA STR, Skydio Inc., Shield AI Inc., Auterion Government Solutions, Kutta Technologies Inc., Vantage Robotics LLC and Tomahawk Robotics, Inc.

The initiative seeks to accelerate capable and secure sUAS through Blue UAS, which focuses on increasing DoD access to commercial systems while bolstering the industrial base to disrupt dominance demonstrated in the supply chain by one of the nation’s near-peer adversaries.

“sUAS significantly augment our national defense,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy Jesse Salazar said. “This investment in the defense industrial base is intended to provide critical battlefield capabilities across the spectrum of conflict, including on-demand reconnaissance which augments service members’ capabilities and increases their survivability, lethality and mission flexibility.”

The DoD noted that sUAS provides troops with high-definition imagery and video while reducing the need for troops to compete for scarce centralized assets like large-scale UAS.

Additionally, officials said the technology is used to seek and detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs), clear and map buildings and remove barricaded shooters.

Douglas Clark

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