세계 / Global

First Replicator unmanned systems delivered to US armed forces

A US Army soldier launched an AeroVironment Switchblade. The loitering munition is the only system publicly identified as being selected to be part of the Replicator initiative. (DVIDS)

The first systems under the Replicator initiative, intended to manufacture small unmanned systems en masse, have been delivered, US Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said in a 22 May statement.

“The delivery of Replicator systems to the warfighter began earlier this month,” Hicks said. “Together with the private sector and with support from Congress, the Replicator initiative is delivering capabilities at greater speed and scale while simultaneously burning down risk and alleviating systemic barriers across the department.”

The first Replicator capabilities include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned ground vehicles, and counter-UAV equipment, according to a 6 May Department of Defense (DoD) statement. Only one such system – AeroVironment's Switchblade 600, a small loitering munition – has been publicly identified.

The programme has largely been conducted in secret, though occasional statements have revealed that the first tranche of Replicator programmes was selected in December 2023. Additional Replicator contracts are expected to be issued in boreal summer.

Replicator is funded by USD500 million in fiscal year (FY) 2024, with USD500 million more requested in FY 2025.

For more information, please seePentagon announces USD500 million for Replicator .

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