General Atomics expands industry teaming for AIR 7003

RAAF-marked-Predator-B-200dpi-24x36wGeneral Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has expanded its “Team Reaper Australia” solution for the AIR 7003 armed unmanned aircraft project to nine partners.

Launched at the Avalon Airshow in February 2017, “Team Reaper Australia” is the company’s proposed solution to Australia’s multi-mission remotely piloted aircraft requirements as outlined in the AIR 7003 Phase 1 Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial System project.

Cobham, CAE Australia, Raytheon and Flight Data Systems were named as members of the original team alongside General Atomics at the formal announcement at Avalon.

On Wednesday, General Atomics said TAE Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Ultra Electronics Australia, Airspeed, and Quickstep Holdings Ltd had joined the project.

“General Atomics recognises the importance of having a robust team of Australian industry partners to support the Air 7003 requirements,” GA-ASI chief executive Linden Blue said in a statement.

“We are strongly committed to partnerships with Australian industry and to providing a capable, affordable RPA system to the Australian Defence Force.”

The Australian government’s integrated investment program that was published with the 2016 Defence White Paper outlined a plan to acquire an armed unmanned aircraft to provide an integrated and persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and attack capability to support the Australian Defence Force and coalition forces.

The AIR 7003 project reached ‘gate zero’ in early November.

General Atomics may put forward either the existing US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper or the Type-Certifiable Predator B (marketed as the SkyGuardian), which the USAF has designated as the MQ-9B.