The Australian government has selected General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) to provide the Australian Defence Force’s Armed Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) under Project Air 7003.
Defence minister Christopher Pyne said the new aircraft will provide the ADF with enhanced firepower and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support.
“Medium-altitude, long-endurance, remotely-piloted aircraft have a far greater range than smaller remotely-piloted aircraft and can continuously observe an area of interest for much longer than manned reconnaissance aircraft,” Pyne said.
“Remotely-piloted aircraft allow military commanders to make more informed decisions faster whilst providing the option to conduct strike and reconnaissance operations without risking the safety of aircrew.
“The aircraft will be operated under the same laws of armed conflict, international human rights law and rules of engagement as manned aircraft.”
Project AIR 7003 will see the delivery of medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial system (UAS), otherwise known as self-piloted drones.
GA-ASI announced its intention to offer a MALE RPAS to the ADF during AVALON 2017 – the Australian International Aerospace and Defence Exposition – with the launch of Team Reaper Australia, a grouping of Australian industry partners.
Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI, said the company was looking forward to providing its RPAS to meet the Air 7003 requirements.
“We’ll work closely with our partners through Team Reaper Australia to provide a highly capable and affordable RPAS to the ADF, while creating meaningful and enduring Australian jobs.”