Canberra manufacturer selected for drone sustainment

ASX-listed, Canberra-based security manufacturer XTEK, will provide maintenance, repairs, and support services for the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) fleet of unmanned aerial systems.

The ADF announced the purchase of the Wasp All Environment (AE) small unmanned aerial systems from US-based drone manufacturer AeroVironment in 2017.

Last week, Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, confirmed that XTEK will be the local partner for the sustainment of the Wasp AE fleet.

The system provides soldiers to be able to obtain a fast understanding of a battlefield, with minimal risk, said Price.

“The Wasp AE small unmanned aerial system is small enough to be carried, assembled and used by one person allowing the soldier to see over the hill, around the corner and down the road,” she said.

The value of the contract to XTEK will be $5 million per year, with the initial contract lasting for three years, with the potential to extend to 2026. According to the Minister, 10 jobs will be directly supported.

As part of its servicing of the drones, XTEK will purchase spare parts, carry out training, maintenance and repairs, such as electronics and composite repairs, from its facility in Symonston.

So far, 59 of the unmanned aerial systems have been brought to Australia, and 20 more will arrive in 2020.