Two contracts signed for military drone development

UAS demonstration at Puckapunyal Military Area. Source: Defence Department

The federal government has signed two contracts to further develop the Australian Defence Force’s unmanned aerial system (UAS) capabilities.

Defence minister Christopher Pyne said the Defence Innovation Hub contracts, signed with UAV vision and Textron Systems Australia, would enable Australia to remain at the forefront of surveillance, intelligence and force protection capabilities.

“The $2.1 million contract signed with UAV Vision will allow the company to develop a lightweight, compact micro gimbal with several integrated systems to enhance performance and accuracy,” Pyne said.

“Textron Systems Australia signed a $283,000 contract to develop a small UAS including communication systems, sensors and ground control systems.”

The Defence Innovation Hub works with industry partners to fund technologies so that they are developed in accord with the needs of defence force capabilities. An initiative of the government’s 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement, it has been established to deliver approximately $640 million up to 2025-26, maturing and further developing technologies that have moved from the early science stages into the engineering and development stages of the innovation process.

Founded in 2006, UAV Vision designs and manufactures high-performance, lightweight, gyro-stabilised camera systems for ISR applications. Textron Systems designs and manufactures multi-mission unmanned aircraft and other systems.

Brigadier Scott Benbow, the director general of Aviation in the Defence department, said both innovators attended a demonstration at Puckapunyal Military Area to see current UAS capability in action and speak with operators.

“These innovators are working on an exciting and important capability, key to modernising our Army and enhancing the capabilities of Australian soldiers on the battlefield,” Benbow said.