The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has updated its Blue sUAS list of drones meeting standards to qualify for use by US forces and government agencies, clearing Aerosystem’s Spirit line of coaxial UAVs, the WingtraOne, and two other craft for broader deployment.
The DIU’s revision is part of an ongoing evaluation and vetting process under which candidate drone platforms are considered for approval, while those that have attained that can be added to the Blue UAS Cleared List for broader use by military forces and US agencies. In this weeks’s update of its Blue sUAS 2.0 roster, the DIU recognized Ascent’s Spirit, the WingtraOne, AgEagle affiliate senseFly’s eBee Tac, and Freefly System’s Alta has having passed security reviews, National Defense Authorization Act compliance checks, and Department of Defense requirements for nearly unrestricted official deployment.
Established in 2015 to allow the US military to securely procure and use new and swiftly evolving consumer technologies, the DIU drew up its first Blue sUAS 1.0 list of approved drones in August 2020. Last October, its 2.0 roster expanded the number of UAVs deemed efficient, economical, and data-secure for use by government agencies from five to 11.
This week’s revision clears four of those recently added platforms for immediate use by U.S. government services desiring to procure and operate them without further technical review or approval being required. The Blue sUAS program is still a work in progress, under which review of UAVs is perfected even as the vetting process continues being streamlined.
“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.”
Ascent AeroSystems CEO Peter Fuchs hailed the move as good news for his company and federal customers alike.
“Government agencies can’t pick and choose when and where they fly,” he said. “The Spirit’s coaxial configuration delivers the compact, high performance, all-weather capability needed for those mission-critical applications. Its modular design allows operators to not only configure it exactly as it’s needed for the mission at hand, but easily adapt new sensors as they become available.”