Advancing National Defense: Congressman Wittman Explores Drone Innovations at RapidFlight

Drone Innovation for DefenseU.S. Congressman Rob Wittman tours RapidFlight’s Virginia facility, highlighting scalable drone solutions vital for modern military strategies

Virginia-based unmanned aerial systems developer RapidFlight recently announced they had received a visit from U.S. Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA1), Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, to their Manassas headquarters. Over a more than two-hour-long tour, RapidFlight demonstrated their innovative, additive manufacturing (better known as 3D printing) based approach to bringing maximum operational flexibility to the battlefield.

RapidFlight’s main product, called AgileAviation, includes over 20 different UAV designs that can be flexibly adapted and manufactured on-site to fit fast-changing mission parameters. Their proprietary hardware-software stack is designed to allow American companies to compete with drone makers abroad, who have previously been able to take advantage of economies of scale to price out their opposition.

The visit included a tour of their manufacturing facility in Virginia, employing dozens of local workers, and an exploration of RapidFlight’s Mobile Production System, which can be set up quickly in forward operating environments. The MPS can be owned and operated by RapidFlight, or it’s available to the Department of Defense, US Allies, or defense contractor primes to quickly and affordably build up to 28 Group 3 aircraft per month, (with the option to build significantly more Group 1 or Group 2 UAVs should the situation require it). Using commercial off-the-shelf components and powered by a standard 110/240V wall plug, the MPS is designed to work anywhere it’s needed, with an effective operation range of -20º F to 130º F, even with high humidity.

Drone Innovation for Defense

During the visit, Wittman highlighted the importance of scalable drone solutions to the US and its allies, helping them address a rapidly changing security environment.

 “We get so wrapped up in doing science project after science project, but you have to be able to scale it and have an operational effect,” said Wittman, discussing the current state of Pentagon technology development. “What you all do here is the secret sauce that we need to be able to act quickly.”

Wittman was key to the passage of the American Security Drone Act within the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, which banned the procurement or use of UAVs manufactured by China. As part of this push, he has visited multiple domestic drone developers to check in on the state of the American drone industry.

“Congressional engagement with companies like RapidFlight is critical to national defense. Congressman Wittman can help facilitate innovative solutions from emerging manufacturers aimed at bolstering our national defense strategy,” said Mike Uffelman, Director of Growth at RapidFlight. “We are excited to work with our elected officials on Capitol Hill to provide our service members with the tools they need to accomplish the mission.”

More information on RapidFlight is available here.

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Miriam McNabbMiriam McNabb

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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