Local drone makers not considered for ADF contract

Australian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) makers have expressed concern at
what they believe is a favouring of international drone suppliers by the
Australia Defence Force.

Fairfax reports that the ADF recently agreed to a no-bid contract with
US-listed, southern California-based company AeroVironment, worth $7.7 million.

The acquisition of the equipment – which the ADF would not comment on but
which is believed to be AeroVironment’s Raven hand-launched drones – came to
the knowledge of the Australian Association of Unmanned Systems only after it
was purchased.

The AAUS has voiced concerns about the favouring of “off the shelf”
technology by the ADF, and believes it can come at the expense of developing
local expertise.

“There is a certain level of involvement you need in the acquisition of
projects and the development of them if you desire to modify and adapt them
through life,” Tony Landers, an AAUS board member, told
Fairfax
.

The overlooking of local companies for defence contracts was a controversial
topic last year, for example in demands
the federal government honour its pre-election pledge
to make its next
generation submarines in South Australia, and in Rossi
missing out on a deal to supply boots to soldiers
.

Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AeroVironment_RQ-11_Raven