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Orbital UAV demonstrates WA’s defence industry capabilities

Perth-based Orbital UAV has hosted a delegation from the Office of Defence West – the Western Australian government office responsible for supporting the interests of the state’s growing defence industry.

Perth-based Orbital UAV has hosted a delegation from the Office of Defence West – the Western Australian government office responsible for supporting the interests of the state’s growing defence industry.

As Orbital UAV continues to build its global reputation in the tactical unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) sector, the company welcomed the visiting party which included Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia, WA Defence Advocate Rear Admiral (Ret’d) Raydon Gates and David Michael, member for Balcatta.

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Todd Alder, CEO and managing director of Orbital UAV said, “Over the past decade, Orbital UAV has grown its position as a supplier of world-class propulsion systems to global manufacturers of tactical UAS – platforms that are supporting allied defence forces around the world.”

The WA Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan has played a key role in supporting companies like Orbital UAV expand. The strategy provides direction across six key strategies to ensure WA can be a key player in the national and international defence industry and a major contributor towards the needs and requirements of the Australian Defence Force.

“As we continue to drive our own growth strategy, investing in people and our capabilities, we see the work currently being undertaken by the Minister for Defence Issues and the Office of Defence West as a positive step for the defence industry in WA and look forward to supporting the objectives of the WA Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan,” Alder said. 

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The strategy represents the first time a West Australian government has committed to a strategic plan dedicated to defence and the defence industry, bringing WA in line with every other state and jurisdiction in the country, the strategic plan outlines six key strategies:

  • Supporting a strong enduring defence presence: Develop and promote the case for WA to be the principal location for maintenance and sustainment for the future submarines and frigates. These contracts are expected to exceed $50 billion through the life of the new fleets.      
  • Growing the state’s defence industry capability and contribution: Facilitate business opportunities and collaboration overseas to maximise domestic and international defence opportunities.  
  • Developing strategic infrastructure: Establish an across-government task force to undertake strategic planning for the expansion and management of Henderson and the Australian Marine Complex.
  • Building research and innovation partnerships: Work with the Australian government to establish a Defence Science Centre to enhance research collaborations and engagements between universities, industry and defence.
  • Advancing education, training and skilling: Establish a Defence Office in the South Metropolitan TAFE to lead a coordinated and collaborative approach to the development of a WA defence workforce.
  • Supporting veterans and families: Develop, in consultation with Defence and local governments, a Veterans and Defence Families Strategy to better support veterans and their families.     

The delegation visited Orbital UAV’s Balcatta production facility and head office, from where the company exports its propulsion systems to a global customer base.

“Seeing the highly specialist work Orbital UAV is conducting here in Balcatta and exporting to the world is a wonderful example of the know-how, talent and ambition we have in Western Australia, while highlighting the many opportunities there are for economic growth and job creation,” said David Michael MLA.

Last year, Orbital UAV signed an expanded US$120 million long-term agreement (LTA) with key customer Insitu Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company. The LTA has a potential value of up to A$350 million over five years and covers the delivery of five different engines that will be applied across Insitu-Boeing’s entire UAS fleet.

WA’s Minister for Defence Issues congratulated Orbital UAV on their achievements in the global UAS market, saying, ”Orbital UAV is already making great strides in the UAS sector, taking their world-class products to a global customer base while continuing to build their capabilities in Western Australia. I look forward to watching their progress and I have no doubt they can help us deliver on the objectives set out within the strategic plan."

Orbital UAV provides integrated propulsion systems and flight critical components for tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Orbital’s design thinking and patented technology enable the company to meet the long endurance and high-reliability requirements of the growing global UAV market from offices in Australia and the United States.

Orbital UAV demonstrates WA’s defence industry capabilities
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