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Defense Innovation Unit seeks modular test system to scale drone tech

October 3, 2023

Courtney Albon

Defense News

The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and the Threat Systems Management Office operate a swarm of 40 drones to test the rotational units capabilities at the National Training Center on May 8th, 2019. (Pvt. 2nd Class James Newsome/Army)


By Courtney Albon, Defense News / October 3, 2023

As the Pentagon prepares to field thousands of autonomous systems in the coming years, its commercial innovation hub is seeking a modular test platform that it could use to validate payloads, sensors and other technology.

The Defense Innovation Unit wants a system that could be ready for its first flight test within seven months, reach a range of 500 nautical miles (926 kilometers), and deliver a kinetic payload, it said in a Sept. 28 notice.

“The objective is to demonstrate an aerial platform that prioritizes affordability and distributed mass production,” it said. “Multiple vehicle types may be selected for prototyping and multiple variants may be developed following a successful initial flight test. Designs that enable geographically distributed, scalable manufacturing with minimal reliance on specialized tooling and test equipment are preferred.”

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