The Commonwealth has released a request for tender (RFT) for the Australian Army’s Project LAND 129 Phase 4B small uncrewed aerial system (SUAS) requirement.
Released on January 10, the tender calls for a new hand-launched UAS to replace the Wasp III SUAS in Army service. The RFT follows a request for information (RFI) which closed in September 2021 and which was used to test the market.
The RFT calls for a SUAS capability that can provide an Army combat team with enhanced situational awareness and increased force protection by providing expanded reconnaissance and surveillance coverage of manoeuvre areas using a single trained operator.
The system will be man-portable, and will typically comprise an air vehicle, a ground control segment (GCS), operational support equipment, and training support equipment. The RFT also lists a requirement for remote viewing terminal for passive display of sensor data, but adds this is “outside the system boundary of this project”.
The air vehicle will weigh less than 15kg, and be capable of operating at day or night in a variety of environments, particularly in littoral regions, from a small boat, and be recoverable on the small boat and on unprepared land. In the case of a water landing, it will be able to float for at least 15 minutes, and it is desirable that it will be available to continue operations. No new facilities or additional personnel will be required to operate the system.
Other important or very important requirements include an ability to transition from transport mode to operational mode within 10 minutes, to conduct ISR missions at least seven and as far as 10km from the GCS, and to be able to display sensor imagery from those ranges.
The air vehicle will have a best endurance speed of 25kts for at least 45 minutes and up to 60 minutes, and be capable of more than 50kts in level flight. It will be capable of operations in the presence of multiple UAS of different sizes in a single area of operations, and of conducting navigation in a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) denied environment.
The RFT closes at 1400 AEDT on Friday 4 March 2022, and service entry is planned for 2024/25.