French drone maker Parrot is set to begin production of Short-Range Reconnaissance (SRR) drone prototypes for the US Army.

The development comes after the company’s mature prototype was cleared for initial manufacturing.

It also marks a significant milestone in the army’s SRR drone programme, which is in the final selection process stage.

Parrot’s prototype unit was confirmed in November last year and was put through the initial testing phase that was conducted up to January 2020.

The company has entered an operational assessment phase that will help the service in deciding the production award.

Manufacturing of the prototypes will be carried out in the US. For this, Parrot is collaborating with its partner NEOTech to decide on its US production chain.

The partnership will see Parrot deploy its complete software in Paris at NEOTech facility in the US for the final prototype assembly.

The final prototype batch will be produced and delivered in July this year.

Parrot Security and Defense vice-president Laurent Rouchon said: “Parrot is honoured to work with the DoD on this highly strategic project.

“We have successfully met the high standards set over the last 12 months on the prototype efforts and we look forward to entering this final phase and launching production in the US.”

The US Department of Defense had selected six companies in April last year for the development of small SRR aircraft. The SRR programme aims to offer an enhanced and effective situational awareness capability to soldiers on the battlefield.

The other five companies are Skydio, Altavian, Teal Drones, Vantage Robotics, and Lumenier.

Around $11m in funding has been awarded for the effort.