NOAA has awarded three Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts to five small business manufacturers of uncrewed marine systems with a potential combined value of $22.5 million. IDIQ contracts allow the agency to streamline the processing and delivery of commercial products and services from industry vendors.
Uncrewed aircraft and marine systems have great potential to enhance and expand the ways that NOAA meets its mission to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, ocean and coasts.
The NOAA Uncrewed Systems Operations Center has selected nine projects that use private-sector operated uncrewed marine systems in an innovative partnership to collect data for NOAA missions. In total, $7.5 million will be allocated in fiscal year 2023.
Uncrewed systems can serve a unique role as companion to traditional crewed methods and allow NOAA to efficiently gather data that was not always accessible before.
At NOAA, we are always looking for the safest and most efficient way to collect the data we need. These days, innovative technology plays a big part in that. The NOAA Uncrewed Systems Operations Center was recently established to facilitate the agency’s acquisition and use of uncrewed systems to collect environmental data in the air and in the water.
On September 28, 2022, the crew of a NOAA WP-3D Orion hurricane hunter aircraft launched a 27-pound uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) into Hurricane Ian. The drone, an Area-I Altius-600, completed a two-hour mission. This was the first time an Altius-600 had been deployed into a hurricane. The successful development and testing of the Altius-600 UAS for hurricane research was made possible through support from the NOAA Uncrewed Systems Operations Center and the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center, which are both part of the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.
Five saildrones supported by NOAA's Uncrewed Systems Operations Center and NOAA's Weather Program Office will operate in the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea in areas frequented by tropical storms and hurricanes. Learn more in this NOAA Research article.
NOAA and the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) signed a 10-year agreement on Feb. 4, 2021 to partner on ways to improve how uncrewed systems (UxS) are used to collect important ocean observation data and augment NOAA’s operational capabilities. The agreement provides a framework for collaborating with NOAA scientists and UxS operators on projects to further UxS research, development and operations. UxS are sensor-equipped vehicles that operate autonomously or are remotely piloted.
NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego are partnering to improve how unmanned systems (UxS) are used to collect important ocean observations and augment NOAA’s operational capabilities. This 10-year agreement provides a framework for Scripps and OMAO’s new Unmanned Systems Operations Program to collaborate on specific projects to further UxS research, development, and operations.