Inspired Flight Technologies Launches NDAA-Compliant IF800 Tomcat Drone
BY Zacc Dukowitz20 June 2023
U.S.-based drone company Inspired Flight Technologies has launched an NDAA-compliant commercial drone called the IF800 Tomcat.
Credit: Inspired Flight Technologies
The Tomcat has a 40 minute battery life, can carry payloads that weigh up to 6.6 pounds, and starts at $18,000.
The big selling feature for the Tomcat is its NDAA compliance. This means the drone doesn’t contain parts made by prohibited countries—namely China.
Among NDAA-compliant drones, the Tomcat stands out for both having the longest battery life and the ability to carry high quality RGB and LiDAR sensors.
Right now, the Tomcat is available through a limited presale. It will start shipping in the final quarter of the year. To learn more email Inspired Flight Technologies at email@example.com or call (805) 776-3640.
Specs and Features for the IF800 Tomcat
The Tomcat has a lightweight, compact, foldable airframe, making it a portable commercial platform that’s easy to take out and deploy in the field.
Some of the key use cases for the Tomcat include infrastructure inspections, terrain mapping, and search and rescue. For 3D mapping, the Tomcat can carry a LiDAR payload or a high quality visual sensor, so you have the choice of doing either photogrammetry or LiDAR-enabled 3D scans.
Here are the specs for IF800 Tomcat:
- Battery life. 40 minutes.
- Top speed. 51 mph.
- Max payload. 6.6 pounds (3 kilograms).
- Remote ID. All of Inspired Flight Technologies come equipped with Remote ID-compliant technology.
- Camera. A native FPV camera provides a view into what the drone is doing in real time to support precise flying.
- Payloads. You choose. The Tomcat’s interoperable payload interface allows you to swap in the payload you need, including LiDAR sensors, high-resolution cameras, and thermal imaging sensors.
Credit: Inspired Flight Technologies
What Is the NDAA?
The NDAA is the National Defense Authorization Act. It defines what the Department of Defense (DOD) can buy.
According to the NDAA, the DOD can’t buy drones:
- manufactured in a covered foreign country, or by a company based in a covered foreign country; or
- that use flight controllers, radios, data transmission devices, cameras, gimbals, ground control systems, or operating software manufactured in a covered foreign country or by a company based in a covered foreign country.
When the NDAA first became law in 2020, a “covered foreign country” meant only China.
In 2022, Russia, Iran, and North Korea were added to the list. Starting in October of 2024, DJI specifically will be prohibited from use by any private company that contracts with the DOD, marking the first extension of NDAA prohibitions to specific companies.
Another way to look at NDAA compliance is through the lens of supply chain security.
The NDAA doesn’t require that a drone’s components all be made in the U.S., only that a drone’s components aren’t made in a prohibited country.
To make this concrete, Japanese drone maker ACSL’s SOTEN drone is NDAA compliant although some of the SOTEN’s components are made in Japan.
Sony’s Airpeak is also considered NDAA compliant, and all of its major components are also made in Japan.
How Does Blue UAS Fit into NDAA Compliance?
All Blue UAS drones are compliant with the NDAA. But not all NDAA-compliant drones are considered Blue UAS.
NDAA-compliance has to do with the origin of a drone’s components. If a drone doesn’t use parts from a prohibited country, then it’s compliant—but there is no formal body that grants this compliance. Instead, companies claim it for themselves by removing prohibited countries from the supply chain used to make their drones.
The Blue UAS designation, on the other hand, is granted by the Department of Defense after a drone company has gone through a rigorous process. That process includes an in-depth evaluation of the drone’s supply chain security, cybersecurity, and the ability to protect sensitive information.
To date, there are only 16 drones on the Blue UAS list.
But there are many more NDAA-compliant drones, and there are likely to be even more in the coming years as more American companies—and foreign companies like Sony and ACSL—join the race to provide compliant drones to the DOD.
It’s estimated that the market for NDAA-compliant drones for military applications is around $5-$6 billion.
The sheer size of the market means that, while the IF800 Tomcat may be the first NDAA-compliant drone out there with a 40-minute battery life and swappable payloads, it certainly won’t be the last.