The ADF has mandated that an Australian-developed sensor will be fitted to the air vehicle selected for the Australian Army’s LAND 129 Phase 3 tactical UAS requirement.
The stabilised 4-axis CM234 Spitfire camera gimbal weighs just 5kg, and has been described by the ADF as a next generation intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. It was developed with the aid of defence Innovation Hub funding from a clean-sheet in just three years.
“The Spitfire camera gimbal is an extremely lightweight sensor package that provides a day-and-night surveillance and reconnaissance capability on the installed aircraft, which will significantly boost Army’s tactical UAS capabilities,” Director General Army Aviation Systems, Brigadier James Allen said in a release. “UAS are a key component of Army’s ISR capability, with some smaller unmanned systems used last year on Operation Bushfire Assist.
“Insitu Pacific Limited and Textron Systems Australia have been selected as the final two companies in the tender evaluation process for LAND 129 Phase 3, and both have confirmed the inclusion of the Spitfire camera gimbal in their solution.” Insitu Pacific is offering the ScanEagle and Integrator/RQ-21A air vehicle, while Textron Australia is offering its Aerosonde V4/HQ air vehicle.
Assistant Secretary Defence Capability and Innovation, Andrew Hodgkinson said the Spitfire sensor was a great demonstration of a home-grown innovation from Australia’s technology sector transitioning into defence capability.
“The advanced CM234 Spitfire camera gimbal has been developed by Melbourne-based Australian company Ascent Vision Technologies, with support and investment from the Defence Innovation Hub,” he said. “This Australian invention will allow capabilities traditionally reserved for manned aviation systems to be introduced on tactical unmanned aerial systems.”
The Spitfire gimbal combines electro-optical, short-wave and medium-wave infrared cameras, laser range-finding and target designation technology and is considered a strong candidate for possible export orders.