Australian defence technology company XTEK has teamed up with California-based small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) supplier AeroVironment and two other Australian companies, Sentient Vision Systems in Melbourne and General Dynamics Mediaware in Canberra, to offer the Wasp AE Micro Air Vehicle to the Australian Army and Special Forces.
XTEK has been selected as the preferred tenderer for the LAND 129 Phase 4 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle project, which is seeking to acquire a UAS for Army to use at the battlegroup level.
XTEK, Sentient and General Dynamics Mediaware will add value to the capability to be provided, and to the Australian industry content, through the supply and integration of imagery exploitation and movement detection systems, according to XTEK.
XTEK itself will maintain the UAS and provide through-life support for the fleet at facilities in Canberra and South Australia.
“Our ability to customise and maintain top-of-the-line international military and security equipment for local conditions puts XTEK in a strong position to support the federal government’s push for greater local industry involvement in defence procurement,” said XTEK chairman Uwe Boettcher.
A Wasp AE system consists of two air vehicles and one ground control system. With a 29-inch wingspan, the 1.3 kg micro air vehicle is designed for ground and water landings, making it suitable for both land and maritime missions.
“Teaming with XTEK, Sentient and General Dynamics Mediaware for delivery and sustainment is key to ensuring our customer’s success as its forces rely on the advanced, versatile and life-saving capabilities of our Wasp AE systems to proceed with certainty,” said Kirk Flittie, vice-president and general manager of AeroVironment’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment.