Much of the focus of those making profits off of the billion dollar drone industry has been on the defense industry giants such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Atomics. The drones that are used in extrajudicial targeted assassinations in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, are often the drones that are made by these defense contractors. However, many of the drones that are used for surveillance by the US Navy, Marines, and Army are smaller drones made by smaller companies. The US Army recently inked a multi-million dollar contract with multiple companies to provide these smaller drones:
The US Army announced has awarded Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract (ID/IQ) to five manufacturers of small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) worth together up to $248 Million. The funding will cover deliveries of small UAS systems over the next five years. The funding will cover the Army’s own UAS, as well as some orders for other military branches, civilian government agencies and foreign countries.
The beneficiaries are Aerovironment, of Monrovia, Calif., Altavian and Innovative Automation Technologies from Gainesville, Fla., Elbit Systems of America from Fort Worth, Texas and Lockheed Martin Corporation, Owego, N.Y.
The Army awarded these shell contracts to all five companies that entered the bid to cap the future procurement, per specific requirements as defined by the Army. According to Aerovironment, the funding will enable the company to continue deliveries and support of RQ-11B Raven and RQ-20A Puma AE systems, as well as competing on medium- and long-range small unmanned aircraft systems.
Photo: U.S. Army Sgts. Jeremy R. Squires, and Ronald F. Williams both generator mechanics, with Anh M. Huynh, an electronic technician, all with the Bravo Company, Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Combat Team, attend to a Shadow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle at Forward Operating Base Fenty on Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan. (Photo via US Army photo by Spc. Gregory J. Argentieri)
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