The companies have agreed to collaborate to help drive innovation in the UAV space.
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Orbital Corporation (Orbital UAV) and Animal Dynamics have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which aims to further the development of propulsion systems and uncrewed aerial technology.
The agreement involves exploring initial concepts for heavy fuel engine systems applicable to Stork-STM — a heavy-lift uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) under development by Animal Dynamics.
This is tipped to produce a “highly performant, reliable and maintainable engine”, designed to excel across a range of environments.
Stork-STM is billed as an autonomous, heavy-lift parafoil built from first engineering principles, capable of carrying heavy cargo weighing up to 135 kilograms over 400 kilometres.
The platform is also expected to be operational beyond visual line of sight and capable of taking off and landing across short distances on unprepared ground.
The technology can be used for military resupply, humanitarian aid and emergency response missions.
Orbital UAV is expected to leverage its experience operating platforms in extreme temperatures, ranging from -30 to 49 degrees.
The company’s in-house prototyping and cradle-to-grave product life cycle capabilities are tipped to take an engine from concept and definition, through to full rate engine production and in-service support.
“Animal Dynamics represents an exciting opportunity to take Orbital UAV’s patented engine technology into the European market and expand our global reach,” Todd Alder, chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director of Orbital UAV, said.
“Stork-STM is a groundbreaking UAS that will create a unique solution for the defence sector, and beyond.”
Kevin Allington, CEO of Animal Dynamics, welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Orbital UAV.
“Orbital represents our first choice to develop the best possible powertrain for our vehicle,” Allington said.
“We’re confident our customers will be able to rely on their performant and reliable technology in the most difficult operating environments.”
According to the companies, Stork-STM can also power sovereign Australian vehicle Pelican, currently under development in conjunction with Animal Dynamics and Omega Dev Group in Sydney.
“Orbital’s world-class engineering is another good reason for the Australian Defence Force to be confident that our Pelican UAV brings class-leading performance and value for money,” Blair Hickey, CEO of Omega Dev, added.