Air Force adds nine contractors to growing Skyborg competitive pool

By Sara Sirota / September 30, 2020 at 11:06 AM

The Air Force has added nine companies to the pool of Skyborg contractors vying for funds to support prototyping, experimentation and autonomy development, the Defense Department announced Tuesday.

The new vendors include AeroVironment, Autodyne, BAE Systems, Blue Force Technologies, Fregata Systems, Lockheed Martin, NextGen Aeronautics, Sierra Technical Services and Wichita State University. They accompany Boeing, General Atomics, Kratos and Northrop Grumman, with which the Air Force announced deals in July.

The 13 companies all received indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts and will compete for specific orders under a $400 million shared ceiling through July 2026.

"It has always been the Skyborg program's intent to award as many IDIQ contracts as practicable, and to include additional contractors over time," an Air Force press release states. "The second phase of awards demonstrates the program's continuous efforts to identify applicable technology and expeditiously inject it into the program to meet warfighter needs."

The service is developing technology to support various mission sets built around the "autonomous core system" for attritable aircraft, which will undergo operational experimentation. The Skyborg program anticipates beginning development of air vehicle prototype designs before the end of the calendar year.