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Merlin Awarded $105M Production Contract for USSOCOM Fixed-Wing Autonomy
[June 11, 2024]

Merlin Awarded $105M Production Contract for USSOCOM Fixed-Wing Autonomy

Merlin, a leading developer of safe autonomous flight technology for fixed-wing aircraft, today announced it has been awarded a $105M Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to begin working towards a production-ready reduced aircrew capability on Special Operations Forces (SOF) C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, the most-used cargo platform in the Department of Defense's fleet. Utilizing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) authorities, this contract allows Merlin to rapidly bring to production its advanced automation systems onboard the C-130J with contracted scope for introduction into the broader SOF fixed wing fleet.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Merlin Awarded $105M Production Contract for USSOCOM Fixed-Wing Autonomy (Photo: Business Wire)

Merlin Awarded $105M Production Contract for USSOCOM Fixed-Wing Autonomy (Photo: Business Wire)

Merlin's advanced automation technology provides the ability for reduced aircrew capabiliies, which is essential for the safety and scalability of the aviation industry. Following Merlin's partnership with the United States Air Force (USAF), which was announced in July 2022, this contract award covers multiple phases including:

  • Design for integration onto the C-130J platform;
  • Integration and ground testing;
  • Test Readiness Review (TRR) and flight test;
  • Full takeoff to landing demonstration;
  • Maturation of advanced autonomy skills;
  • Additional integrations on SOF aircraft.

"The contract award marks a milestone in the collaboration between USSOCOM and Merlin, accelerating our ability to bring high levels of autonomy to a variety of fixed wing platforms to support the warfighter. In addition, the magnitude of the contract is an important proof point that USSOCOM continues to bring innovative capabilities out of testing and into production track programs," said Matt George, co-founder and CEO, Merlin. "The forward-thinking approach to autonomy that USSOCOM has shown throughout the process of vetting Merlin for award is essential to a scalable industry and safe future. We look forward to expanding our partnership with this team as we continue to deliver operationally relevant capabilities."

To learn more about Merlin's work with the United States Department of Defense, or to join the Merlin team, please visit:

About Merlin

Founded in 2018 and headquartered in Boston, with additional offices in Denver and flight test facilities in Mojave, CA and Kerikeri, New Zealand, Merlin is building a platform-adaptable advanced automation system to perpetuate a resilient air network. To learn more, visit or follow us on X @merlinaero.

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