French drone maker, Parrot has been selected by the Department of Defense as one of six companies to help develop a short-range reconnaissance drone for the US Army. The development of small commercial drones for the battlefield is t result of a partnership between the U.S. Army Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Aviation’s Project Manager, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence. DJI is not among the other selected companies. The ongoing US-China trade war, which caused price increases for DJI products, and fears of Chinese companies such as Huawei and DJI potentially spying on behalf of the Chinese government have suddenly created new opportunities for American and Western European companies, such as Parrot.
Department of Defense Stories May 28
Department of Defense Stories August 7, 2018
On July 30th the Defense Department awarded a contract worth nearly $800 million towards the research and development of unmanned underwater drones. In its 2019 fiscal year budget, the DoD allotted $9.6 billion to unmanned systems. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, this is a 28% increase from the previous year which solidifies the department’s interest in unmanned systems is growing. The Pentagon has selected 23 different companies to share the contract with expected completion by July of 2023, just 5 years from now.
Department of Defense Stories June 7, 2018
It seems that the letter that was sent by Chris Murphy, the Junior Senator from Connecticut on May 7th, has led to the Department of Defense (DoD) banning the purchase of commercial-over-the-shelf UAS, including DJI drones for most (if not all) departments. The ban went into effect immediately (as of May 23rd, 2018.
Department of Defense Stories May 30, 2018
On May 7th, Chris Murphy, the Junior Senator from Connecticut had sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, expressing his concerns over an additional purchase of 16 DJI drones in addition to the hundreds of DJI’s drones already purchased by U.S. government agencies and the Department of Defense. In his letter, Murphy mentions that at least three separate agencies have found that the commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS) from the Chinese drone manufacturer pose a potential national security threat. He urges the DoD to cut Chinese drone-maker DJI out of its business and suggests that the department works with domestic drone makers instead, even if they may require some assistance. A source close to the matter has indicated that the DoD has stopped using DJI as of May 24th as a result of Murphy’s letter.