Is the Blue sUAS listing truly hurting the home drone trade? These producers say it’s – and are asking Congress to deal with the issue.
Disclosure: DRONELIFE has a shopper relationship with drone producer Skyfish. This text just isn’t a sponsored submit: DRONELIFE acquired no fee for publication.
NDAA compliant US drone producers say that the Basic Companies Administration (GSA) adoption of the Blue sUAS listing as standards for buy is killing their companies – and innovation within the US drone trade.
Two US drone producers – Terraview and Skyfish – petitioned Congress final week to take away the Blue sUAS requirement from GSA procurement techniques (see full textual content of letters under.) The producers declare that the usage of the Blue sUAS listing as an assurance of a safe platform has gone far past the meant function – and is inflicting materials injury to NDAA compliant US drone producers.
NDAA Compliant US Drone Producers vs. the Blue sUAS Checklist
Part 848 of the FY20 Nationwide Defence Authorization Act, titled “Prohibition on operation or procurement of foreign-made unmanned plane techniques,” together with Govt Order 13981, “Defending america from Sure Unmanned Plane Programs,” laid out the U.S. authorities’s framework for prohibiting the use and procurement of foreign-made drone expertise for U.S. authorities companies, and outlined the particular necessities for compliance with safety measures, known as NDAA compliance.
Many US producers invested closely in NDAA compliance: however within the meantime, authorities companies together with the GSA merely adopted the Blue sUAS listing, quite than consider every applicant towards the NDAA standards.
The Blue sUAS listing was initially revealed in August of 2020, and the unique Blue sUAS listing was comprised of 5 particular drone platforms that had been developed in collaboration with the Protection Innovation Unit (DIU) to supply short-range reconnaissance on vetted platforms for U.S. protection. The second Blue sUAS listing – or the “Blue sUAS 2.0” – named 11 distributors, and was designed partly to determine a course of by which different producers could also be added. The method of building a framework to open the listing is shifting slowly, nevertheless – and within the meantime, say US producers not included on the listing, the home drone trade is being stifled.
Each Terraview and Skyfish utilized for inclusion on the Blue sUAS 2.0 listing, however had been advised that the DIU lacked the funding and assets to guage their platforms: an issue exacerbated by their efforts to adjust to NDAA necessities and manufacture their very own components fully within the U.S., quite than sourcing prepared made parts from abroad.
“We’re constructing all the things from scratch within the US, we’re not simply an integrator,” says Orest Pilskalns, CEO of Skyfish. “There isn’t a reward for constructing one thing fully in america – in truth as a result of it’s extra work to guage these items, being ‘too American made’ is a draw back.”
“The Blue sUAS listing was by no means designed to be a gate-keeper for federal authorities procurement,” says Bruce Myers, Terraview CEO. “It’s truly stifling competitors… The DIU by no means meant the Blue sUAS listing to be the be all finish all. ”
Michael Kelly, Terraview’s VP of World Gross sales, says the choice may be very clear: “The GSA and different federal companies ought to be counting on compliance with Govt Order 13981 and the language within the Protection Authorization Act – the manager order outlines precisely what’s required.”
“The true objective was to keep away from potential safety points, and to keep away from doing enterprise with blacklisted corporations. We and different US-based manufactures greater than meet these necessities,” says Kelly.
Pilskalns agrees. “Utilizing the Blue sUAS listing as a standards is doing precisely the alternative of what the NDAA was designed to do – it’s crushing innovation within the U.S. drone trade,” he says. “FY20 NDAA is the legislation, handed by Congress, and the federal authorities ought to comply with that legislation. The Blue sUAS listing and the NDAA are two various things.”
For the reason that GSA adopted the Blue sUAS listing as a standards for inclusion, enterprise for these corporations not included on the listing has turn out to be far harder. Whereas the GSA maintains that these corporations not on the listing can nonetheless entry authorities clients, Myers says that the workaround isn’t an affordable resolution to the issue.
“The workaround is that an company can subject a full RFP, which provides time and prices to the procurement course of. That’s making it tougher on authorities purchasers in addition to stifling competitors,” says Myers. “Many corporations don’t perceive federal authorities contracting. It’s not straightforward – you want a contract car.”
The GSA’s adoption of the Blue sUAS listing has had an impact on greater than federal buying. State and native governments, typically with out the professional assets to guage sUAS platforms, have additionally begun to undertake the listing as an expedient to insuring safe expertise.
John Livingston, Skyfish Chairman, says that exlusion from the Blue sUAS listing is a critical detriment to development. “That is crushing the home drone trade – if you happen to aren’t on the listing you’ll be able to’t compete for presidency or state enterprise. It has an infinite impression,” says Livingston.
“Moreover, it is a killer for financing. What Blue sUAS has performed is to indicate a “seal of approval”. And with out it, it’s laborious to get capital,” he says. “It’s a really painful factor to not be included on this listing as a US drone producer – it places you out within the chilly.”
“We admire what the DIU is doing, it’s an vital perform. But it surely’s gone far past that – this listing has been pushed and promoted properly past what it was meant for. This has had precisely the alternative impact from what everybody needed: to encourage innovation within the U.S. drone trade.”
“The federal authorities wants to permit the market to work freely, and innovation to happen,” agrees Myers. “That’s how the US will catch up on this house.”
See textual content of letters to Congress, written by TerraView and Skyfish under:
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, knowledgeable drone companies market, and a fascinated observer of the rising drone trade and the regulatory surroundings for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles centered on the industrial drone house and is a world speaker and acknowledged determine within the trade. Miriam has a level from the College of Chicago and over 20 years of expertise in excessive tech gross sales and advertising for brand spanking new applied sciences.
For drone trade consulting or writing, E-mail Miriam.
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