Cobham Aviation Services Australia and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) have announced a five-year extension to their teaming agreement to introduce a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) into Australia.
The arrangement focuses on the provision of support for the GA-ASI MQ-9B SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian RPAS, including whole-of-life support.
The MQ-9B SkyGuardian was selected by the Australian Defence Force in November 2019 as the Armed RPAS for Project Air 7003, while the MQ-9B SeaGuardian is a candidate for the Australian Border Force Future Maritime Surveillance Capability program.
Project AIR 7003 will provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with an armed MALE RPAS that will include aircraft and ground control stations that will be fully inter-operable with Australia’s allies.
This extended teaming agreement was signed by Cobham Aviation Services Australia CEO Ryan Both and GA-ASI president David R. Alexander in Canberra on 30 January.
According to Both, Cobham and GA-ASI have been working in partnership for more than 15 years to promote the introduction of a MALE RPAS capability into Australia.
“This teaming agreement enables us to apply our specialist capabilities in supporting sophisticated, fit-for-purpose aerial platforms that perform critical national security missions,” he said.
“We look forward to continuing our work with GA-ASI, particularly with support to the MQ-9B SkyGuardian.”
Alexander said the combination of Cobham’s strengths as a key aviation services and support provider in Australia provided a highly cost-effective capability for domestic customers.
“As the lead partner for Team Reaper Australia, Cobham will be a key contributor to the MQ-9B SkyGuardian Australian Industry Capability in Australia,” he said.
“We also welcome the relationship with Cobham to offer the MQ-9B SeaGuardian for future Australian Border Force operations in Australia.”
Team Reaper Australia currently consists of 10 Australian companies providing a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life cycle support capabilities.
Partners include Cobham, CAE, Raytheon, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Quickstep, AirSpeed, Rockwell Collins Australia, Ultra and SentientVision.
Cobham Aviation Services is one of the largest aviation services companies in Australia.
Headquartered in Adelaide, South Australia, it employs 1,300 people across all states and territories in Australia.
GA-ASI, an affiliate of General Atomics, is a designer and manufacturer of RPAS, radars and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator RPA series and the Lynx Multi-mode Radar.
The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.