Five defence industry companies have progressed to the next phase of the procurement process for Defence’s Maritime UAS (unmanned aircraft system) Continuous Development Program.
Acting Defence Minister Marise Payne has announced that BAE Systems Australia, Insitu Pacific, Northrop Grumman Australia, Raytheon Australia, and Textron Systems Australia had been shortlisted for Block One of SEA129 Phase 5, which aims to acquire a new Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR&T) capability for RAN ships through a maritime UAS.
Block One of the program is the first phase of the 30-year continuous development program, with five-year rolling block upgrades, which will incorporate new technology upgrades.
“This Program will acquire maritime unmanned intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting aircraft systems which will complement current sensors and systems on Navy’s ships, while boosting a ship’s area of surveillance,” Minister Payne said.
“Today’s milestone is a result of the Morrison Government’s unprecedented $270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade, which is equipping the Australian Defence Force with world-class, cutting edge capability.”
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the project aims to maximise Australia’s defence industry involvement in the acquisition, operation and sustainment of defence capability.
“By incorporating new technology through block upgrades every five years, the program supports the development of Australia’s Unmanned Aircraft System industry, and provides the Navy with a leading edge maritime surveillance capability,” Minister Price said.
“This process will allow Australian businesses to be directly involved in providing greater situational awareness for the Fleet, in particular the new Arafura Offshore Patrol Vessels, while strengthening long-term job growth and security.”
According to the press release issued by the Department of Defence, future opportunities will be available in forthcoming Blocks of SEA129 Phase 5 from 2024.