Leidos Australia has announced its collaboration with Australian SME AeroPM for expert technical, airworthiness, certification, test and evaluation advice for the LAND 129 Phase 3 tender response.
The LAND 129 project will replace and enhance the existing Australian Army’s tactical unmanned aerial system (TUAS) and contribute to strengthening Australia’s sovereign capability. Leidos Australia is one of four companies shortlisted to compete for the conceptual system integration design phase of the project.
Paul Chase, Leidos Australia chief executive, welcomed the collaboration, saying, "Leidos is committed to working with Australian companies across all of our tenders, and LAND 129 Phase 3 is no different.
"AeroPM is an impressive Australian veteran-owned SME, which is not only supporting the Australian industry, but also the veteran community. They have a solid record working on complex technical programs and their strengths complement our exciting offering."
Led by chief executive Emily Frizell and general manager Adam Frizell, AeroPM will support Leidos to achieve type certification and continuing airworthiness for both the platform and mission support systems. In addition, AeroPM will provide support for delivery, transition, operational service strategy, and the test and evaluation program.
Emily Frizell said, "We look forward to working with Leidos and supporting the future of Defence. With a high percentage of ex-service personnel on our team and our experience supporting Defence projects, we have significant insight into the needs of the men and women on the ground."
AeroPM engaged with Leidos Australia after a recent call requesting expressions of interest (EOI) from Australian companies to join the bid via the Leidos Australian Partner Portal.
Together, AeroPM and Leidos have a shared vision in developing a solution that best supports Defence’s current and future needs.
As part of the LAND 129 Phase 3 program, 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.
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.
Defence is looking to hear from Australian suppliers operating in the TUAS space in terms of systems, subsystems, payloads and components.
The next phase of the project will focus on a competitive evaluation of more comprehensive tendered solutions from the four primes, prior to progressing the project to government consideration in 2021.