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Raytheon pledges to create NSW drone hub

written by Adam Thorn | October 15, 2020

Defence contractor Raytheon has pledged to establish a drone hub in NSW if it wins a high-profile contract to replace the army’s current Shadow 200 system, writes Charbel Kadib.

Raytheon Australia said it will set up an Asia-Pacific manufacturing and sustainment hub for S-100 unmanned aerial systems in the Shoalhaven region if it wins the LAND 129 Phase 3 program.

However, the Canberra-based engineering business faces competition from shortlisted Insitu Pacific, Leidos Australia and Textron Systems Australia.

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Raytheon has stated that if selected, it would develop and maintain the UAS units alongside three Shoalhaven-based SMEs — Schiebel Pacific, Air Affairs Australia and Innovation Composites.

According to Raytheon, its offering would create approximately 20 new jobs and inject approximately $50 million in the local economy over the life of the program.

“Our LAND 129 Phase 3 solution is backed by Raytheon Australia’s 20-year investment in sovereign complex systems integration, which allows us to offer a world-class system to meet the Australian Army’s future tactical UAS requirements,” Raytheon Australia managing director Michael Ward said.

“The development of this regional UAS sustainment hub will generate even more growth and jobs for the Shoalhaven region.

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“We will work with local suppliers to foster genuine Australian industrial sovereignty, prioritising Defence’s operational needs.”

The managing director added that Raytheon’s work with its team of Australian-based SMEs would establish an “enduring sovereign UAS capability”.

“Our team combines Raytheon Australia’s strength in systems integration with the capabilities of locally-based SMEs, to deliver a solution for LAND 129 Phase 3 that will be provided by Australians, for the Australian Defence Force,” Ward said.

Andrew Watson, general manager at Schiebel Pacific, said the manufacturing and sustainment facility would foster greater collaboration between the companies.

“We are fully committed to the Australian market and are proud of our efforts in setting up the UAS manufacturing and sustainment hub for the Shoalhaven region,” he said.

“The hub enables us to closely work together with all involved partners and sets us up perfectly for the LAND 129 Phase 3 program.”

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