Defence has released an advanced notification to industry of an impending request for information (RFI) for the Australian Army’s Project LAND 129 Phase 4B small unmanned aerial system (SUAS) requirement.
The notification says LAND 129.4B will see the procurement of 60 to 80 systems to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) support to the combat team commander. It will be required to enter service in 2023/24 timeframe, and will replace 66 AeroVironment (AE) Wasp III systems which were procured under LAND 129.4A and entered service in 2018.
It says, “development of the operational concept document, and function and performance specification for the project is ongoing”, so the project team is not yet able to “discuss end-user needs and system functional requirements.”
Despite the specifications not yet being defined, the document advises a water recovery capability is under consideration, and it says the new systems should provide better performance than the Wasp AE. To this end, the shortcomings of the Wasp will be laid out in the RFI, as will the level of integration with other systems, and the requirement for a high level of Australian industry capability (AIC).
The RFI will not mandate a fixed-wing or vertical takeoff and land requirement, nor will it set a technology readiness level (TRL) target.