Morrison Government invests in new Unmanned Aircraft Systems development program

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Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

Minister for Defence

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Nicky Hamer (Minister Reynolds’ Office): +61 437 989 927

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4 August 2020

The Morrison Government is investing up to $1.3 billion in a new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) development program to enhance situational awareness across Australia’s vast maritime environment.

The Maritime UAS Continuous Development program will ensure Defence maintains leading-edge maritime surveillance capabilities.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said Defence requires leading-edge maritime surveillance capabilities to better understand and adapt to the complex and rapidly changing maritime domain.

“As detailed in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, launched by the Prime Minister and I in July, Australia is at the centre of a dynamic strategic environment,” Minister Reynolds said.

“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.”

Through this program, Defence plans to acquire air vehicles between approximately 25 to 300kg in size that will enhance the situational awareness and response options of Royal Australian Navy 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.

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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