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Defence issues RFI for a maritime UAV for OPVs

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 29, 2017

The Saab Skeldar is a potential contender for SEA 129 Phase 5 Stage 1.

Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) has issued a request for information (RFI) for a Maritime Tactical Unmanned Air System (MTUAS) to be operated from the Navy’s forthcoming Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).

Published on May 26, the RFI notice states that the SEA 129 Phase 5 Stage 1 project will introduce into service an MTUAS which will provide the OPVs with an embedded, off-board intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform.

An industry briefing is due to be held on June 8, and the RFI closes on July 21.

Potential contenders for the requirement likely include the Saab Skeldar, Schiebel Camcopter S-100 and Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout.

A second stage of SEA 129 Phase 5 separately is expected to acquire a MTUAS to operate off the Navy’s new Air Warfare Destroyers and forthcoming Future Frigates.

Twelve Offshore Patrol Vessels are due to be built in Australia for the RAN under the SEA 1180 program, with Damen Shipyards Group, Fassmer Group and Lürssen Shipyards shortlisted for the program last year.

Comments (7)

  • omegatalon


    Unmanned maritime vehicles may not be just aerial systems like the Globalhawk and this Saab Seldar as the future may require a fleet of unmanned surface and underwater vehicles to form a data web network to provide information concerning foreign military ships/submarines as well as pirates.

  • Corey


    I hope they buy the MQ-8C Fire Scout as it’s the best option. Also, they RAN should buy a fleet of AW139s or additional MRH90 choppers for increased capability with SAR and enabling of aircraft boarding parties. Even an H145 could kinda do the job with reduced training due to the HATS H135 T2.

  • Myles


    I believe instead of the troubled MRH90 it would be better to have multiperpose S/mH60s. Its missions include vertical replenishment, medical evacuation, combat search and rescue, anti-surface warfare, maritime interdiction, close air support, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and special warfare support. With a small number of the MH-60S is to deploy with the AQS-20A Mine Detection System and an Airborne Laser Mine Detection System. And logistically aligned withe the sh 60R.

  • Jasonp


    The OPV vessels need to have a hangar if they’re going to embark Fire Scout. Looks like that’s not a requirement!

  • Paul


    The final OPV designs have not been publicly released by the bidders because the CEP is still in progress. However 2 of the 3 designs they are based on already have hangars included. They are bigger enough for either UAV’s or Light Utility Helicopters.

  • Jasonp


    Correct, but a hangar IS NOT A REQUIREMENT.

  • Paul


    Jason; I have not read the specifications or requirements documentation, so yield to your insider knowledge.

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