news | 25 April 2022

Defense Innovation Unit to Provide Update on Blue UAS, Components and New Opportunities at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2022

Focused Government and Industry Efforts to Provide Trusted and Streamlined sUAS Strengthening the Nation’s Drone Industrial Base 

April 25, 2022Mountain View, CA—The Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU’s) Blue Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program team and partner companies will be at Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) XPONENTIAL 2022 conference April 25-27, to highlight progress made toward providing trusted and capable drones to the Department of Defense (DoD). 

The Blue UAS effort is a holistic and continuous approach that will rapidly vet and scale commercial unmanned aerial system (UAS) technology for the DoD. This focused government and industry effort to provide trusted sUAS is helping to build a stronger industrial base in drones and their enabling component technologies for the DoD and our international partners. Adversarial drones still dominate the commercial sUAS industry but they are facing increased competition in the past two years. 

This Blue UAS program consists of five lines of effort that both prototype new capabilities based on cutting edge commercially available technology and serve to increase access to existing policy compliant UAS. These lines of effort include:  Cleared List, On-Ramp, Hub, Foundry and Framework. Three of the efforts have updates going into this year’s XPONENTIAL  event. 


Today, the U.S. Army Program Executive Office Soldier, through DIU, is seeking a commercial  small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) solution to support the U.S. Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor (SBS) Phase II program. SBS is a Vertical Takeoff and Landing sUAS that provides a small (micro) and portable system capable of enabling  small units to rapidly gain situational awareness in their immediate area. Read about the solicitation details here: ( This is only one of several ongoing prototyping efforts leveraging DIU’s Commercial Solutions Opening.


Critical to Blue UAS is the Blue Framework, that provides interoperable, standard protocol, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)-compliant components and software to provide advanced capability to the greater sUAS market and the government.

“The framework provides advanced capabilities to sUAS developers and reduces risk for government customers,” said Matthew Borowski, DIU Program Manager. “Government funding of key drone components is a game changer and additional investment in sUAS technologies by DPA Title III will provide advanced capabilities, ready to field, leveraging common components and architectures to decrease development timelines and reduce costs.”

New DoD requirements for sUAS interoperability are mandated by the “sUAS Joint Reference Architecture” that will define the protocols for communication. Additionally, a new government portal has been developed to aid collaboration and communication on this protocol at  This portal is currently available only to U.S. Government personnel and sUAS companies on an active DoD contract.

Cleared List

To date, Blue UAS has added seven drones to its “Cleared List,” with another thirteen currently in evaluation to increase the variety of capabilities available to all branches of the U.S. military. This expansion will provide additional sUAS capabilities requested by the DoD and its federal partners, including infrastructure inspection, mapping, carrying secondary payloads, and more traditional reconnaissance tasks. 

DIU’s initial Blue sUAS project, now referred to as “1.0,” was announced in August 2020. Blue sUAS 1.0 made minor modifications to the Army’s final five Short Range Reconnaissance candidate air vehicles. The effort integrated commercially-based ground control stations to create an initial standalone commercial/enterprise configuration available to all of DoD as well as other U.S. government entities. 

The Cleared list houses the UAS that DIU has evaluated as part of a prototype process called the Blue UAS On-Ramp intended to rapidly vet and make available commercial UAS for DoD users. Future opportunities to participate will be posted on


On Tuesday, April 26, DIU will provide an inside look on the Blue UAS program and answer company and government questions. Also, be sure to visit DIU’s commercial partners at AUVSI’s exhibit hall to learn more about their continued advancements, including new flight controllers, data links, as well as their enterprise and analytics support. Blue UAS companies will be indicated by blue carpets and the Blue UAS logo.

“DIU is working to provide trusted and capable drones to the DoD using new streamlined processes, informing acquisition policy, and making it easier for troops to gain access to previously inaccessible commercial technology,” said Capt. Shelby Ochs, DIU program manager for Blue UAS. “We are acting as a pathfinder, not gatekeeper, and are continuing our work to add more trusted sUAS capabilities to the marketplace for warfighters.”

Ongoing updates to the Blue UAS website ( provide information on policy, approvals and frequently asked questions for vendors and government use of sUAS.