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Army & Defence Innovation Hub select three small UASs for development

Corvo drones

The SYPAQ SUAS range includes the Corvo X (top left). (SYPAQ)

The Australian Army and the Defence Innovation Hub have awarded three innovation contracts to Australian industry and research organisations to develop a next generation Small Unmanned Aerial System (SUAS) for consideration for Army’s Project LAND 129 Phase 4B.

The three contracts totalling $783,000 were selected as part of the new Special Notice platform trialled by the Defence Innovation Hub, which allows capability managers to call for industry and research organisations to submit proposals in response to specific capability challenges. The three systems were chosen from a total of 47 submissions and 15 shortlisted contenders.

“Small Unmanned Aerial System capability enables airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities,” Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said in a statement. “Ensuring our Defence Force personnel have the most up-to-date, cutting-edge technology supports them in their mission to defend Australia and its interests.”

“It is encouraging to see the Defence Innovation Hub, the Australian Army and local industry partners working together to develop innovative solutions to enhance Defence capability.”

The three companies are JAR Aerospace which will develop a hybrid vertical take-off and landing with fixed wing UAS that will incorporate target tracking, encryption and acoustic sensing and analysis at an extended range; SYPAQ Systems which will further develop its Corvo X SUAS that has vertical take-off and landing capacity with an extended flight time; and the University of Sydney which will develop a lightweight UAS that combines vertical take-off capabilities with horizontal fixed wing flight for extended speed and endurance.

In a separate statement, Chairman of the SYPAQ Group, George Vicino, said: “SYPAQ has now been awarded three contracts through the Defence Innovation Hub – that’s something I’m very proud of. Corvo X is the result of many years of hard work and investment in cutting edge innovation, and demonstrates how Australian industry can meet the needs of our Defence Force.”