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RAN surveillance drone passes initial flight trials

written by Adam Thorn | April 19, 2021

WA-based Innovaero Industries has announced its new surveillance drone developed for the RAN has passed its initial flight trials.

The Innovaero FOX will now undergo vertical and conventional take-off and landing trials later this year.

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The business’ chief executive, Simon Grosser, said the maritime unmanned aerial system (MUAS) has already generated “significant” export sales.

“Whilst FOX is still in the developmental phase, we have a proven track record of aeronautical commercialisation success, and that has already led to a number of promising discussions with defence primes regarding potential collaboration opportunities,” said Grosser.

The FOX, which has an eight-metre wingspan, completed a series of test where developers where able to analyse system data, allowing it to progress to the next stage of testing.

It’s been developed in response to the Navy’s call for a new generation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and targeting capability for RAN ships.

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It’s set to be launched at Avalon later this year and forms part of Defence’s Maritime UAS Continuous Development program.

Located in Kardinya, WA, Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price and the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton, opened Innovaero’s purpose-built manufacturing capabilities last year.

The test forms the culmination of two years of privately funded research.

“It is pleasing that the Innovaero FOX is generating so much interest — particularly from major defence industry participants associated with SEA 129-5 — who recognise the company has a unique, home-grown capability,” Grosser said.

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