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Defence invests $1.3 billion in SEA129 Ph.5 UAS program

Defence has announced a more strategic approach to developing a maritime UAS capability for the Navy as well as a stronger UAS industry in Australia. A Schiebel S-100 Camcopter undergoing trials with the RAN s 822X Sqn at Jervis Bay. Photo: Defence

Defence is investing up to $1.3 billion in its Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) development program, Project SEA 129 Ph.5, to enhance Australia’s maritime situational awareness.
The Maritime UAS Continuous Development program will ensure Defence maintains leading-edge maritime surveillance capabilities.
Defence plans to acquire air vehicles between approximately 25kg and 300kg in size that will enhance the situational awareness and response options of RAN ships.
To keep pace with rapidly developing technology in this domain, Defence will adopt a five yearly investment cycle to upgrade the Maritime UAS capability, commencing in 2024.
Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds said Defence requires leading-edge maritime surveillance capabilities to better understand and adapt to the complex and rapidly changing maritime 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.”
An Invitation to Register will be released 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,” Minister Reynolds said. “To ensure we are positioned to respond to future challenges, the Morrison Government 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.”
Detailed advice on the Invitation to Register will be released on AusTender in August 2020.


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