20 Apr 2017

Military drone contracts up for grabs

The Ministry of Defence is looking for companies to apply for a share of £3M funding to supply front line troops using autonomous technology.

The MOD will invest in projects that can deliver combat materials from a vehicle or base over a hostile environment. The term ‘last-mile’ is slightly misleading however, as distances can cover up to 30km.

Currently, troops on the front line receive supplies from transport aircraft, helicopters, large trucks, trailers with quad bikes and soldiers on foot.

The competition will look for solutions in three areas:

  • unmanned air and ground load-carrying platforms
  • technologies and systems that allow load-carrying platforms to operate autonomously
  • technologies to autonomously predict, plan, track and optimise re-supply demands from military users

The first phase of the competition will see up to £1.5M made available, with up to an additional £1.5M in phase 2 that includes proposed system designs. This will only be available to projects funded through phase 1.

Phase 1 contracts will be worth between £40,000 and £80,000 and last up to six months.

A third phase could include a longer period of trials and evaluation of promising proposals.

The competition is for fully funded contracts under the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) with the deadline for submissions on 21 June 2017.

A networking event for potential applicants will take place on 23 May 2017.

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