Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Pentagon awards new contracts to Vantage for reconnaissance systems

Silicon Valley-based drone manufacturer Vantage has announced that it has received four new U.S. Department of Defense contracts.

In a company news release Tuesday, Vantage said it was selected for four different Department of Defense (DoD) contracts in the last five months.

As noted by the company, these new wins allow Vantage to expand our investments in the core technology pushing limits on sensor performance, flight performance, autonomy, communications and ruggedization for our customers in both the DoD as well as first responders, security, search and rescue, and inspections.

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These new contract wins include an award for the second tranche of the U.S. Army Soldier Borne Sensor Program through the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit for the Blue unmanned aerial system (UAS) effort; a SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) with the U.S. Air Force; and a contract extension with the Army’s SRR (Short Range Reconnaissance) program.

Vantage was the only company selected for a $2.5 million prototype development contract to design the micro drone and ground control station for the second tranche of the Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor program.

“Vantage is beyond honored to have the opportunity to work on the continuation of the same program that produced FLIR’s Black Hornet,” says Tobin Fisher, Vantage CEO and co-founder. “The first tranche of the SBS program demonstrated strong demand for drone technology and capabilities that can offer soldiers greater situational awareness. We look forward to continuing to push the limits of what is possible at this small scale and with the goal of making our soldiers safer and more capable.”

The SBS UAS is intended to offer “…a very small unmanned aerial system and Situational Awareness (SA) tool, providing the squad/platoon with an organic, ‘quick look’ capability for near real-time video feeds of larger, complex and restrictive environments during day, night and reduced visibility conditions.” This capability is intended to be deployed at the level of the Army’s 7,000 squads.

This is a major milestone for Vantage, being the only company to be awarded the OTA contract amongst a competitive group of UAS providers. This firmly positions Vantage for a large-scale unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) deployment and potentially a $100 million production contract win for SBS.

In July, Vantage won a $2 million contract from the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to help create a family of modular drone sensor payloads for the Blue UAS Framework, an ecosystem of trusted small drone components. Vantage’s advanced small drone payload and gimbal technology were one of its key differentiators for inclusion in the program. Currently, there is an urgent need for COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) modular payloads for type 1 UAS as very few companies are capable of developing these challenging devices. Vantage is uniquely positioned to address this need and created a family of modular payloads that plugs into the Blue UAS ecosystem as well as end-to-end complementary products.

Vantage’s involvement with DIU’s Blue UAS Framework is exemplary of our efforts, along with other UAS providers, to help create a more collaborative and effective American drone industry with support from the federal government.

The Air Force via AFWERX awarded Vantage a $1 million SBIR contract to bring a new form of low-cost sensory-augmented aerial telepresence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) UAS to Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the Air Force Security Forces Center (AFSFC) and the Air Force Civil Engineering Center (AFCEC).

In this program, Vantage will extend the capabilities of Vesper, our flagship UAS, to both meet the Air Force’s stringent security requirements and enable it to be operated remotely from anywhere in the world.

With Vesper’s remote operational proficiencies, Vantage is helping enhance the Air Force’s effectiveness for situational awareness, improve team inspections and monitoring of assets and reduce the need for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2018, the U.S. Army selected Vantage to rapidly develop portable, Short-Range Reconnaissance (SRR) UAV prototypes to be deployed with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and provide situational awareness in mission-critical environments. In only nine months with a $2.5 million contract, Vantage developed Vesper, an entirely new UAV product that exceeded Army requirements. The success of Vesper has led to a recent $1.4 million extension, which will go towards designing and producing 25 Vision Ground Control Station (GCS) and an additional 25 Vesper units. This fresh funding will also go towards penetration testing and full security assessment for its ATO certification.

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