Four New Drones Added to Government Approved Blue UAS List
BY Zacc Dukowitz14 June 2022
The DOD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DUI) recently announced that it has added four drones to those approved for government use, a designation generally referred to as Blue UAS.
The four drones are:
- WingtraOne, by Wingtra
- Spirit, by Ascent AeroSystems
- eBee TAC, by senseFly, an AgEagle company
- AltaX, by Freefly Systems
The AltaX drone made by Freefly Systems
These drones got their approvals through Blue UAS 2.0, a pilot program made to streamline the process for getting drones approved for government use.
These four drones join the five that were originally approved for government use via what is now called Blue UAS 1.0 back in August of 2020. The models on that original list are:
- X2D, by Skydio
- ION M440, by FLIR
- Anafi USA GOV/MIL*, by Parrot
- Golden Eagle, by Teal Drones
- Vesper, by Vantage Robotics
* Parrot actually has two distinct drone models on the Blue UAS Cleared list—the Parrot Anafi USA MIL and the Parrot Anafi USA GOV. The DIU listed them as a single model when the first Blue UAS list was announced but they are now listed separately on the DIU website.
The WingtraOne drone made by Wingtra
Blue UAS 1.0 vs. Blue UAS 2.0
The DIU has two Blue UAS programs—1.0 and 2.0.
Blue UAS 1.0 refers to those drone models that have gone through the approval process and are now cleared for government use. The drones that were cleared through that process are now on the official Blue UAS Cleared List.
Blue UAS 2.0, on the other hand, refers to a program rolled out in October of 2021 that uses a streamlined approach to clear drones.
To join the Blue UAS Cleared List companies must apply for entry in the Blue UAS 2.0 program, and then go through the Blue UAS 2.0 approval process.
The four new drones on the Cleared list are the first ones to complete the Blue UAS 2.0 approval process. There were eleven companies on the original list of those in the Blue UAS 2.0 program, so we should expect to see several more drone models added to the Cleared list in the coming months.
The five original drones approved through the Blue UAS 1.0 program had to go through a unique process to get their approvals, which required “minor modifications” to the drones.
The four new drones didn’t have to be modified to get their approvals. Instead, they had to:
- Undergo cyber-security evaluations
- Undergo policy compliance checks
- Be issued the necessary approval documents required for any DoD user to procure
The Spirit drone made by Ascent AeroSystems
The Four New Blue UAS Cleared Drones
Here’s a little more information about the four drones that were just added to the Blue UAS Cleared list.
Key Specs and Features for the WingtraOne
- 59 minute flight time with payload
- VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing)
- Can fly in winds of up to 27 mph and gusts of up to 40 mph
- Optimized for complex surveying and mapping missions
- Repeatable absolute horizontal accuracy down to 0.39 inches with PPK support for all payloads
. . . we are glad to see that this listing brings even more ease of use to DoD and Federal government clients—saving them time and money due to updated acquisition policies that give them access to commercial tech that they couldn’t employ so easily before.
– Vaibhav Sawhney, Product Manager at Wingtra
Key Specs and Features for the Spirit
- All-weather capability
- Coaxial configuration
- Nearly 10 pounds available for batteries and payloads
- Top speed of over 60 mph
- Modular design allows for use of a variety of sensors
Government agencies can’t pick and choose when and where they fly. The Spirit’s coaxial configuration delivers the compact, high performance, all-weather capability needed for those mission-critical applications.
– Peter Fuchs, CEO of Ascent AeroSystems
Key Specs and Features for the eBee TAc
- Maximum flight time of approximately 90 minutes
- Range of over 34 miles
- Weighs 3.6 pounds
- Designed for stealth + can fly in “silent mission” mode
- Camera options include RGB, 3D, multispectral and thermal payloads
The eBee TAC was the first approved drone to be added to the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit’s Blue UAS Cleared List as part of the Blue sUAS 2.0 project.
– Statement from AgEagle, owners of senseFly
Key Specs and Features for the AltaX
- VTOL capability
- 35 pounds of usable payload capacity
- Folds down to half its deployed size
- Accommodates a variety of integrated sensors and third-party payloads including gimbaled EO/IR, survey grade RTK/PPK mapping cameras, LiDAR, hyperspectral sensors, and drop/delivery capabilities
Following a decade of development, Alta X is Freefly Systems’ sixth-generation of the world’s toughest drone ecosystem. Designed and manufactured in the U.S.A., the all-electric Alta X multi-rotor aircraft is extremely versatile and can be custom configured to support a variety of mission requirements.
– Statement from Freefly Systems