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Coast Guard awards contract to procure cutter-based unmanned aircraft system capability


The Coast Guard awarded a contract on June 26, 2024, to Shield AI Inc. of San Diego for unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capability that can be deployed from Coast Guard cutters. The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity firm fixed-price contract runs through 2029 and is structured as five one-year ordering periods. 

This contractor-owned, contractor-operated service will be used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of Coast Guard missions. Requirements for the cutter-based UAS capability – which the Coast Guard will term as maritime UAS or MUAS in the future – included fully automated flight operations, minimum endurance of 12 hours of flight time daily and the ability to provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The payload will include electro-optical and infrared sensors and communications relays and be capable of providing surveillance, detection, classification and identification for all of the host cutter’s operational missions. 

The contract has a total potential value of $198.1 million and includes installation and deinstallation of the UAS capability and pilot and mission training. Shield AI will deploy its V-BAT, which is a vertical take-off and landing UAS. 

Initially, the contract will be used to continue UAS capability on the national security cutter class; however, the contract can be used to support additional cutter classes in the future. 

 For more information: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program page