news | 30 May 2024

Updates to the Defense Innovation Blue UAS List, Framework, Supply Chain, and Software Provide Warfighters with enhanced tactical capabilities

Blue UAS Logo
Blue UAS Logo with Blue Background

Challenges to supply chain and new entrants provide an opportunity to provide DoD with new secure small UAS at speed and scale

Mountain View, CA (May 30, 2024)-- Blue UAS  is undergoing significant changes in response to the evolving needs of the warfighter. The Blue UAS program is a holistic and continuous approach to rapidly prototyping and scaling capable and secure commercial UAS technology for the Department of Defense,  started in 2020 as a response to the National Defense Authorization Act. As part of DIU’s approach to meeting warfighter needs, Blue UAS is being revamped to establish competitive, market driven entry points for new and existing partners to provide solutions from hardware, components and software, across the U.S. Department of Defense. Updates This will be reflected in additions to the Blue UAS List as well as through additional components and capabilities added to the Blue UAS Framework.

“Global events make plain the urgent need to continue to rapidly upgrade and expand options for the warfighter,” said Trent Emeneker, DIU Blue UAS program manager (contractor). “As drone use increases in conflicts, DIU’s “Blue List”, a list of cleared and approved drones, must be more agile and responsive to both DoD and commercial partner needs. To do that, the Blue List will focus on providing needed hardware capabilities while facilitating the rapid software development vital to creating and maintaining success on the battlefield.”

As a direct result of feedback from end users, DIU will increase the optionality in the component space under our Framework activities. This is driven in part to the  challenges and uncertainty that exist around supply chain and sourcing of parts that have been verified to be in compliance with the NDAA. 

Over the past three months, DIU has increased the verified number of Framework components from 5 to 36, providing additional options to our end users and commercial partners. On 28 May, the Skydio X10D, Anduril Industries Ghost / Ghost X, and Freefly Systems Astro were added to the Blue List. These updates, along with allowing DoD users to plug and play specific capabilities in response to their changing needs, will reduce administrative burdens with not having to pursue Exceptions to Policy (ETP’s) in order to use the payloads and capabilities they need. The updated Blue UAS Framework List will provide approved options within the bounds of existing Authorizations to Operate (ATO). 

In addition, DIU is piloting two efforts to deliver increased capabilities to the warfighter and streamline processes for our commercial partners. First, DIU is providing continuous monitoring of software to reduce update approval time providing updated capabilities to the warfighter in close to real time. This will reduce DIU’s average of 45 days to no more than 96 hours. As a comparison, typical DoD software monitoring and update approval time takes 12+ months. A second effort is to allow transfer of critical component information from AUVSI’s Green UAS to Blue UAS Framework, which is intended to provide additional optionality to end users.

In early winter of 2024, DIU will have the first of what will be an annual competitive refresh for the Blue UAS List. We will incorporate end user feedback, with tactical level operators providing hands-on flight and performance evaluation that will go into the overall scoring to ensure we are delivering what is needed by end users today.