Work is getting underway to replace the Australian Army’s SHADOW 200 tactical unmanned aerial system (TUAS) capability, with Defence releasing an industry information survey to industry.
Defence is looking for a capability to replace the SHADOW 200's current capability set, which includes EO/IR stabilised imagery, communications relay payload, laser designation, electronic line-of-sight communications and advanced simulation.
As part of its efforts to expand its TUAS capabilities, Defence is looking for the new capability to include more advanced modular payloads, encrypted communications, a reduced equipment footprint, runway independent operations, quieter operations, operations in more classes of airspace (apart from military restricted airspace), increased environmental operating envelope and increased connectivity and networking in the battlespace.
Defence is looking to hear from Australian suppliers operating in the TUAS space in terms of systems, subsystems, payloads and components.
"The aim of this survey is to obtain information on the capabilities of Australian TUAS organisations and their products/services, both at the present time and in the near future," the survey said.
To operate an anticipated expended UAS capability, the Australian Army plans to grow its 20STA Regiment from two UAS batteries to three.
The new TUAS requirements must also meet the following:
- TUAS – an air vehicle with a GTOW of more than 25 kilograms and less than 250 kilograms;
- System – a TUAS consisting of, at a minimum, an air vehicle and a ground control station (GCS);
- Subsystem – a subsystem of a TUAS, e.g. propulsion, avionics, autopilot, GCS, data link;
- Component – a component of an TUAS, e.g. a battery, antenna, servo motor; and
- Services – services related to TUAS, e.g. operations, engineering, maintenance, training.
The survey will be open for submissions until Friday, 25 May 2018 and can be found here.
The new capability will replace the SHADOW 200 from the mid 2020s.