Marlborough Communications Limited (MCL) and its technology partner, drone manufacturer Skydio, have been awarded a contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) as part of the Future Capabilities Group (FCG) nano Unmanned Aerial Systems (nUAS) framework.
Spiral 4 of the framework will inform future drone concepts and requirements, with the contract positioning MCL as a key UAS provider in the UK.
Focused on providing faster and safer intelligence in ‘around-the-corner’ or ‘over-the-hill’ situations, Spiral 4 aims to introduce new capabilities that increase situational awareness and provide early warnings during defensive missions and functions including 3D scanning, mapping and surveying.
Valued at £3 million, the contract centers on the delivery of Skydio’s autonomous X2D drones along with its Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 3D Scan capability. With the ability to conduct reconnaissance, security patrol and incident response missions, Skydio drones incorporate 360° obstacle avoidance and are night operation enabled. Skydio Autonomy enables the drones to deliver total situational awareness, with six 4K cameras building a map of the surroundings and deep learning algorithms and AI that enable them to understand and predict future scenarios to inform decision-making.
In addition, Skydio 3D Scan provides adaptive scanning software which automates the data capture needed to generate 3D models. With ultra-high resolution and coverage, the technology enables faster high-quality inspections with minimal pilot training.
“Through this partnership, the MOD will benefit from enhanced situational awareness and a significantly reduced training burden on operators,” said Shane Knight, Managing Director at MCL. “Skydio’s autonomous technology will allow for faster and more informed decision making, substantially reducing the risk to personnel.
“The strength of our partnership with Skydio has been clearly demonstrated in securing this contract after a comprehensive tender process. Following the successful delivery of the technology to the MoD, we’re looking forward to demonstrating and training operators on how to use the innovative Skydio technology this year.”
“Skydio’s drones represent a strategic advantage on the battlefields of today and tomorrow, enabling soldiers to obtain real-time, unprecedented situational awareness,” said Adam Bry, CEO at Skydio. “We are proud to partner with MCL in providing this capability to the UK armed forces.”