The US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has made eight new awards to strengthen the domestic small uncrewed aerial systems (sUAS) industrial base for national and economic security.

With a total value of some $14m, the awards have been granted through the Defense Production Act, Title III Program.

They are part of DIU’s aim of furthering the adoption of ‘capable and secure’ sUAS.

According to a press statement released by the DoD, DIU aims to accelerate the adoption of this capability through the ‘Blue UAS’ effort.

The Blue UAS effort seeks to increase DoD access to commercial systems. It is also focused on improving the industrial base to prevent the dominance that is currently existing in the supply chain.

US Defense Industrial Policy Deputy Assistant Secretary Jesse Salazar said: “sUAS significantly augment our national defence.

“This investment in the defence industrial base is intended to provide critical battlefield capabilities across the spectrum of conflict, including on-demand reconnaissance which augments service members’ capabilities and increases their survivability, lethality, and mission flexibility.”

Systems and Technology Research, Vantage Robotics Skydio, Auterion Government Solutions, Kutta Technologies, Shield AI, and Tomahawk Robotics are the companies receiving the awards.

Meanwhile, Auterion Government Solutions has received two separate awards.

According to the DoD, sUAS provides persistent and high-definition imagery and video to the soldiers.

It reduces the need for troops to compete for ‘scarce centralised assets’ such as large-scale drones.

Additionally, troops are using sUAS for detonating improvised explosive devices (IEDs)  to flush out barricaded gunmen.