Customs and Border Protection (CBP) this week awarded contracts to four vendors to provide small drones for field evaluations to inform future procurements.
The awards went to Vantage Robotics, Teal Drones, Atlantic Diving Supply, and W.S. Darley & Co. The value of each contract was redacted by CBP in an Oct. 19 notice in the government procurement website Sam.gov, although Red Cat Holdings [RCAT], which owns Teal Drones, said its contract is valued at just over $1 million.
Vantage will supply its Vesper unmanned aircraft system (UAS), Teal its Golden Eagle, Atlantic Diving the Skydio X2D, and W.S. Darley will provide Parrot’s ANAFI USA. All the drones are quadcopters. Parrot is based in Paris but also has operations in the U.S.
All four commercial, made in the U.S. drones have been vetted by the Defense Department’s Defense Innovation Unit’s Blue small UAS program to ensure compliance with U.S. policies, including cybersecurity.
CBP made the awards under a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA), saying it is acquiring an equal number of each Blue sUAS for its operational assessments. The BPA is worth up to $90 million over five years.
“CBP intends to seek competition in future acquisitions for sUAS by competing orders among the Blue sUAS BPA holders,” the agency says in the notice. “By acquiring Blue sUAS through the intended actions with each vendor, CBP will obtain operational familiarity with each sUAS which will inform capabilities of the various brand name drones in different climates, environments, operational settings, conditions, and other settings for market research and future competitive acquisitions.”
The Border Patrol, which is part of CBP, has previously purchased several small UAS for its missions and testing, including the Lockheed Martin [LMT] Indago 3 Teledyne Technologies [TDY] Skyraider quadcopters, and AeroVironment’s [AVAV] Puma 3 fixed-wing aircraft.
The new CBP contracts follow awards made by the Coast Guard in September to Atlantic Diving, worth $697,000, and W. S. Darley, valued at $700,000, for the Skydio X2D and ANAFI USA drones, respectively. The Coast Guard currently uses a larger small UAS, the Group 2 ScanEagle from Boeing [BA] for missions aboard its fleet of national security cutters. The Blue sUAS being acquired by CBP and the Coast Guard are Group 1 drones, meaning they have a maximum gross take-off weight between zero and 20 pounds.