Defence partners with industry for developing unmanned aerial systems

Australian Heron unmanned aerial vehicle in flight. Source: Defence

The Australian Army has partnered with the Defence Innovation Hub to award three innovation contracts to Australian industry and research organisations to develop a next generation Small Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) for use by Australian soldiers.

Totalling $783,000, the contracts were selected as part of the new Special Notice platform trialled by the Defence Innovation Hub, which allows capability managers to call for industry and research organisations to submit proposals in response to specific capability challenges.

JAR Aerospace from NSW was awarded a $275,000 contract to develop a hybrid vertical take-off and landing with fixed wing unmanned aerial system that will incorporate target tracking, encryption and acoustic sensing and analysis at an extended range.

SYPAQ Systems from Victoria was another company, which was awarded a $258,621 contract to further develop their Corvo X small unmanned aerial system that has vertical take-off and landing capacity with an extended flight time. The Corvo X also has a ground control operating system appropriate for use on both Windows and Android platforms.

University of Sydney was also awarded a $249,524 contract to develop a lightweight unmanned aerial system that combines vertical take-off capabilities with horizontal fixed wing flight for extended speed and endurance. The system will be supported by a suite of cutting edge communication, control and sensor payloads.


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In a media release yesterday, Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne said Defence units have an enduring need to be able to detect, observe and classify potential threats as they move through hazardous environments.

“Small Unmanned Aerial System capability enables airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities,” Minister Pyne said. “Ensuring our Defence Force personnel have the most up-to-date, cutting-edge technology supports them in their mission to defend Australia and its interests.”