Australian-owned SYPAQ Systems has submitted a bid to create a new hand-held surveillance drone for Army to replace its Wasp III.
The business says its CorvoX device can provide “over the hill, down the road and around the corner situational awareness” and has been in development for four years.
Defence’s ‘LAND 129 Phase 4B’ tender, which SYPAQ is competing for, asks entrants to create a hand-held drone that weighs less than 15kg and can operate at night.
The tender also demands the device be capable of flying at 50 knots, be able to float for 15 minutes and be recoverable on unprepared land.
SYPAQ Systems drone utilises vertical take-off, hover and landing and will be manufactured with more than 90 per cent Australian industry content.
Michael Partridge, a general manager at SYPAQ, explained that CorvoX grew from consultation with Defence and local companies to create a tailor-made solution.
“The system is proof of the world-leading autonomous systems capabilities in Australian industry, which we have seen right across our local supply chain,” said Partridge.
Throughout the development of the product, SYPAQ said it collaborated closely with the Victorian government’s Defence Autonomy Centre of Excellence (DACE), which provided investment into the company’s research and development and manufacturing capabilities.
According to SYPAQ CEO Amanda Holt, this allowed the company to “continue developing our innovative technologies and intellectual property related to autonomous systems, sensor systems, military systems integration, artificial intelligence and cyber security”.
The request for tender for LAND 129 Phase 4B closed on 4 March and the drone is expected to enter service in 2024-25.
It’s requirements also ask for the device to be capable of providing expanded reconnaissance, be able to be operated by a single-trained professional and have a best endurance speed of 25 knots for up to 60 minutes.