The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), which operates under the Department of Defense (DoD) to scale commercial drone technology across the US military, has unveiled the first drone to be fully authorized and approved under the Blue sUAS 2.0 program.
The company that has just passed the vetting required for onboarding policy-compliant, commercial, small uncrewed aircraft systems (sUAS) into the DoD is senseFly, a subsidiary of AgEagle Aerial Systems. And the first approved drone to be added to the DIU “Blue UAS Cleared List” as part of the Blue sUAS 2.0 project is the eBee TAC (pictured above).
AgEagle acquired senseFly from Europe-based drone group Parrot for $23 million in October 2021 – around the same time when DIU was issuing permits to drone vendors to participate in Blue sUAS 2.0 initiative.
Getting featured on Blue UAS Cleared List is a notable achievement for drone manufacturers because the aircraft added to this list do not require a DoD exception to policy to procure or operate. They have already undergone a stringent cybersecurity evaluation, an NDAA compliance check, and have been issued the necessary administrative documentation. As such, US government agencies can use these approved drones without worrying about data security breaches.
While the Blue sUAS program focused exclusively on short-range reconnaissance efforts when it was first announced in August 2020, version 2.0 expands the scope of the initiative to include more non-military drone applications such as infrastructure inspection and mapping.
According to Capt. Shelby Ochs, DIU program manager for Blue UAS:
The Blue UAS Cleared List will provide a common approval standard that can save the Services time and money, inform acquisition policy updates, and make it easier for troops to gain access to previously inaccessible commercial tech. Blue sUAS 2.0 vendors have been great partners while we prototype this new process for commercial-off-the-shelf sUAS.