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Army issues LAND 129 Phase 3 information survey

The AAI Shadow 200 tactical unmanned aerial system is recovered post mission at Multi National Base - Tarin Kot. *** Local Caption *** Personnel deployed with the third Shadow Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) rotation in Afghanistan celebrated 10,000 operational hours on September 22. The AAI Shadow 200 tactical unmanned aerial system has been employed by the 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment in Uruzgan and achieved the operational milestone in just over 18 months. The gunners from 131st Surveillance and Target Acquisition Battery, Royal Australian Artillery along with Royal Australian Navy maintainers and image analysts from the 1st Topographical Survey Squadron deployed to Tarin Kot in April, 2013. Shadow has been used to conduct intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance missions to support Australian and coalition troops.

The LAND 129 Phase 3 program will replace the Shadow 200 UAS from the mid 2020s. (Defence)

Defence’s LAND 129 Phase 3 project office has called for industry information in the form of a survey to inform its pre-Gate 1 Shadow 200 UAS replacement program.

“Defence wants to learn more about Australian business capability to inform its Army Program Land 129 Phase 3,” the survey reads.

“The survey is intended to provide an opportunity for Australian industry to engage with Defence at an early stage and to indicate what capability is in the TUAS space in support of the upcoming Gate 1 and Gate 2 business case submissions.

“The project is extremely interested to hear from any Australian suppliers who operate in the Tactical UAS space, in terms of systems, subsystems, payloads, components, or services which can be provided by Australian industry, to support the TUAS Capability.”

To operate an anticipated expended UAS capability, Army plans to grow its 20STA Regiment from two UAS batteries to three.

Background information provided shows a requirement to replace the Shadow 200 from the mid-2020s with a capability that includes:

  • EO/IR stabilised imagery
  • Communications Relay Payload
  • Laser Designation
  • Electronic Line-of-sight Communications
  • Advanced Simulation

Further, it calls for enhanced capabilities in the form of:

  • More advanced and modular payloads
  • Encrypted communications
  • A reduced equipment footprint when compared to Shadow 200
  • Runway independent operations
  • Quieter operations
  • Operations in more classes of airspace, apart from Military restricted airspace
  • Increased environmental operating envelope (rain, fog etc)
  • Increased connectivity and networking in the battlespace.

The survey defines Army’s TUAS system requirements as:

  • TUAS – an Air Vehicle with a GTOW of more than 25 Kg and less than 250 Kg.
  • System – a TUAS consisting of, at a minimum, an Air Vehicle (AV) and a Ground Control Station (GCS).
  • Subsystem – a subsystem of a TUAS, e.g. propulsion, avionics, autopilot, GCS, data link.
  • Component – a component of an TUAS, e.g. a battery, antenna, servo motor.
  • Services – services related to TUAS, e.g. operations, engineering, maintenance, training.

The survey will be open for submissions from Monday 30 April 2018 until Friday 25 May 2018. The link to the survey including a brief outline of the Land 129 Phase 3 project can be found here.