The federal government’s $1.3 billion program to deliver a cutting-edge armed remotely piloted aircraft system to Australia is one step closer after the announcement of the down-selection of a preferred platform for the AIR 7003 project.
Defence Connect can confirm that General Atomics' MQ-9B 'Sky Guardian' has been selected by Defence as the preferred platform for the project.
Following this decision, the next phase for AIR 7003 will focus on developing the MQ-9B acquisition proposal, which is scheduled for government consideration in 2021-22.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said this project will deliver Australia’s first armed medium-altitude long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft system.
“Cutting-edge technology of this kind, with advanced sensors and systems, would complement advanced aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and ensure that Australian Defence Force maintains state-of-the-art capability,” Minister Reynolds said.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price encouraged Australian industry to become involved in this billion-dollar project.
“Local companies that provide a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life-cycle support capabilities will have the opportunity to showcase their capabilities throughout this development process,” Minister Price said.
“Australian defence industries are world-class and are extremely well-placed to be involved in projects like this.”
More to come.