Magazine article National Defense

Australia Investing in Unmanned Aerial Systems

Magazine article National Defense

Australia Investing in Unmanned Aerial Systems

Article excerpt

Several companies have teamed up to deliver a small, unmanned aerial vehicle--currently operated by U.S. Air Force special forces--to the Australian military.

AeroVironment--working alongside Sentient Vision, General Dynamics Mediaware and Australia-based XTEK--is offering the Wasp AE micro air vehicle to the Australian army and special forces. XTEK is the preferred tenderer for the contract, which has not yet been awarded, AeroVironment said.

The Wasp AE--an updated version of the Wasp III --was jointly developed between AeroVironment and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command to provide beyond-line-of-sight situational awareness. If selected, the Wasp AE will deliver intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for ground and maritime operations for the Australian military, the company said.

Dave Sharpin, vice president for business development at AeroVironment, said the Wasp AE can benefit the Australian armed forces' current unmanned aerial vehicles, like AAI's RQ-7B Shadow 200, which is used by the U.S. armed forces, among other nations.

The payload delivers advanced imagery, even in windy conditions, and can be operated manually or programmed for autonomous operations. …

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