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Skyborne completes US DOD contract for drone targeting

Brisbane aerospace company Skyborne Technologies has successfully completed its first US Department of Defense contract for the US Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

Brisbane aerospace company Skyborne Technologies has successfully completed its first US Department of Defense contract for the US Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

Under the six-month agreement, Skyborne developed a ‘Slew-to-Cue’ semi-autonomous targeting assistance using aided target recognition feature for the Cerberus man-portable armed unmanned aircraft system, according to a company statement published on March 21.

The targeting assistance is expected to deliver organic strike capability at the tactical level; and has been demonstrated in Australia to the US Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory’s Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Branch.

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Skyborne Technologies chief executive officer Dr Michael Creagh said the capability significantly enhances accuracy and reduces operator input to effectively hit targets with a stand-off distance.

“I think we surprised ourselves at the level of improvement the AiTR gives the Cerberus strike system,” Dr Creagh said.

“What started as a ‘nice-to-have' concept has essentially become the core of the entire targeting process.

“Everyone was speechless when the first shot in the demonstration hit dead centre of the target.

“We’ve been incredibly impressed with the USMC and MCWL throughout the project. They are forward leaning to get their warfighters the best competitive advantage that they can.”

The Cerberus man-packable system is capable of delivering organic precision offensive support and returning to the operator for reloading at the tactical level.

Skyborne Technologies chief business officer Adrian Dudok said the project has demonstrated the step change capability from other concepts like dropping grenades from small UAS and loitering munitions.

“The project has demonstrated the Cerberus is not only a new class of small armed UAS, but an AI-enabled platform capable of delivering precision fires from a greater stand-off distance and therefore out of visual and acoustic detection,” Dudok said.

Skyborne Tecnhologies partner company, Athena AI, delivered the artificial intelligence target recognition software to provide target and tracking information onboard the Cerberus unmanned aircraft system edge processor.

“MCWL’s experimentation with state-of-the-art autonomous systems exemplifies our commitment to harnessing innovative technologies that enhance our tactical capabilities, ensuring our Marines are better equipped, more agile, and always a step ahead on the battlefield,” said MCWL Robotics and AI Branch Head Major Steven Atkinson.

Skyborne was originally able to perform inaugural aerial firing demonstration with its Cerberus UAV platform in Queensland during 2021. During that testing the UAV’s five-shot 40mm grenade system was able to fly and fire the unique tri-tilt rotor man-packable weaponised UAV with an aerial firing activity for a US Army audience.

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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