Maritime UAS Continuous Development Programme Will Launch This Month
The Australian government is to invest up to A$1.3 billion (€790 million) in a new UAS development programme, Senator Linda Reynolds, the Defence Minister, announced on 4 August.
The Maritime UAS Continuous Development programme will enhance situational awareness (SA) across the vast maritime area Australia has to concern itself with and will assure maintenance of leading-edge maritime surveillance capabilities in a complex, rapidly changing domain.
“Now, more than ever, Defence requires an agile acquisition strategy to take advantage of state-of-the-art technology. This acquisition heralds a new intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting capability for Defence to ensure Australia keeps pace in this rapidly developing technology domain,” the Minister stated.
The programme seeks to acquire air vehicles between approximately 25-300kg that will enhance the SA and response options of Royal Australian Navy vessels. To keep pace with rapidly developing technology, Defence will adopt a five-yearly investment cycle to upgrade the Maritime UAS capability, commencing in 2024.
An Invitation to Register will be released during August for industry to investigate the capability and capacity of Australian industry to deliver all elements of the Maritime UAS, including air vehicles, sensor payloads, integration, training and sustainment.
“Developing sovereign industrial capability through projects like this is critical to enhancing Australia’s industrial base and maritime security […] To ensure we are positioned to respond to future challenges, [we] will continue to invest in Australia’s UAS industry through Defence Innovation and Technology initiatives. This program will provide opportunities for Australian industry to innovate, develop and grow,” Reynolds commented.