The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has awarded a support contract to XTEK for the maintenance of AeroVironment Wasp All Environment (AE) small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS).

Under the contract, XTEK will be responsible for spare parts, repair and maintenance of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) Wasp AE SUAS fleet.

The contract has an initial three-year performance period and includes options to extend until 2026.

XTEK stated that the contract is valued at around A$5m ($3.38m) per year, with total anticipated revenue of A$35m ($23.68m), if all options are exercised.

Australia Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said that the SUAS provides soldiers with the capability to obtain a better understanding of the battlefield.

Melissa Price said: “The Wasp AE small unmanned aerial system is small enough to be carried, assembled and used by one person allowing the soldier to see over the hill, around the corner and down the road.

“It will directly assure up to ten jobs in addition to supporting other jobs in the supply chain.”

The support services contract includes electronics and composite repairs. Work under the contract will be performed at XTEK’s SUAS repair and maintenance facility in Canberra, Australia.

XTEK managing director Philippe Odouard said: “This is a significant contract win for our business to support the ADF’s growing SUAS fleet. This follows the recent installation of the repair and maintenance facility and represents guaranteed support work over the medium and long term.”

The ADF has so far received 59 Wasp AE SUAS systems. Around 20 more systems are expected to be delivered next year.

The Wasp vehicles are being procured through XTEK. In 2017, the ADF awarded a contract to AeroVironment for the supply of the Wasp AE systems. The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract also includes training and logistics support for up to ten years.

Weighing 2.8 pounds, Wasp AE can operate for up to 50 minutes at a range of up to 5km.