AeroVironment has formally signed contracts to deliver Wasp AE unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Weighing 2.8lbs, Wasp AE is said to offer superior imagery, increased endurance and encrypted video.
It delivers streaming colour and infrared video from its pan-tilt-zoom Mantis i22 AE gimbaled system, according to AeroVironment.
The UAS can land on the ground or in fresh or salt water and has the ability to operate for up to 50 minutes at a range of up to 5km.
The Wasp AE provides portability and flexibility for infantry, littoral or maritime reconnaissance operations.
AeroVironment has partnered with Australian partners XTEK, General Dynamics Mediaware and Sentient Vision to provide Wasp AE.
The UAS will be modified with Australian content to meet both ADF and Australian industry requirements.
XTEK and AeroVironment will provide local maintenance, training, and field support to serve the immediate needs of ADF while expanding AeroVironment’s global support capabilities.
AeroVironment Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) business unit vice-president David Sharpin said: “This contract to supply Wasp AE small UAV systems to support the Australian Defence Force is the result of ten years of work with XTEK and the Commonwealth, including thorough operational testing, bringing small UAS compatible with the US operations to Australia, and adding capabilities from Australian companies.
“This collaboration reflects the unwavering commitment of all four companies and the ADF to support and protect the dedicated members of the Australian Armed Forces with the best UAS capabilities available in the world today – to help them proceed with certainty and ensure successful missions.”
Delivery of Wasp AE will be carried out over a period of three years, starting on 1 July 2018.