Future Trends

Merlin Secures $105M USSOCOM Contract for Autonomous Flight Systems

C-130J integration

Merlin Secures $105M USSOCOM Contract for Autonomous Flight Systems

The U.S. Special Operations Command has awarded flight automation developer Merlin Labs a $105 million contract to develop reduced aircrew capabilities for the C-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft.

Based on Small Business Innovation Research provisions, the contract entails integrating Merlin’s automation systems into the C130-J aircraft, with the potential to expand the technology across the broader Special Operations Forces fleet of fixed-wing planes, Merlin said.

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract covers design, integration, ground testing, readiness tests and a full take-off and landing demonstration. The project will also look into maturing advanced autonomous flight capabilities and further SOF integration.

Merlin CEO Matt George emphasized the significance of the partnership with USSOCOM, calling the contract a milestone in advancing autonomous systems for the U.S. military.

George also highlighted the importance of USSOCOM’s forward-thinking approach to securing autonomous technology for the industry’s growth. He added that the collaboration paves the way for continued development of operationally relevant autonomous capabilities.

The award follows Merlin’s partnership with the U.S. Air Force first announced in 2022.

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Category: Future Trends