Acquisition of a new unmanned aircraft to replace Army’s Shadow 200 is under way with the Defence’s LAND 129 Phase 3 project office issuing a call for information on Australian industry skills in the “tactical UAS [TUAS] space”.
Background information provided with the survey shows a requirement to replace the Shadow 200 from the mid-2020s, with Army planning to grow its 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment (20 STA Regt) from two UAS batteries to three.
The survey details that Army is seeking a TUAS air vehicle with a gross takeoff weight of more than 25kg and less than 250kg and that is capable of “runway independent operations”.
The new capability is to feature EO/IR stabilised imagery; a communications relay payload; a laser designation capability; electronic line-of-sight communications; and advanced simulation.
Other enhanced capabilities will include more advanced and modular payloads; encrypted communications; a reduced equipment footprint when compared to Shadow 200; the ability to operate in more classes of airspace, apart from military restricted airspace; expanded environmental operating envelope (rain, fog etc); and increased connectivity and networking.
“Defence wants to learn more about Australian business capability to inform its Army Program Land 129 Phase 3,” the survey reads.
“The survey is intended to provide an opportunity for Australian industry to engage with Defence at an early stage and to indicate what capability is in the TUAS space in support of the upcoming Gate 1 and Gate 2 business case submissions.
“The project is extremely interested to hear from any Australian suppliers who operate in the tactical UAS space, in terms of systems, subsystems, payloads, components, or services which can be provided by Australian industry, to support the TUAS capability.”
The survey closes for submissions on May 25. The link to the survey including a brief outline of the Land 129 Phase 3 project can be found here.