Faun Trackway USA has been awarded a contract to supply an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) aircraft landing mat (ALM) to the Australian armed forces.

The lightweight aluminium mat is used for the quick and efficient construction of temporary runways and will support smooth landing, regardless of terrain, for any size or weight of UAV. The contract worth £800,000 ($1.1m) is the first ever sale of the new UAV-specific landing mat since it was unveiled at the 2011 Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition in London.

The mat is designed for rapid deployment by hand and features a robust design to avoid foreign object damage (FOD) to help protect valuable UAV assets in the field. The mat can also be fitted with arrestor gear that is usually found on aircraft carriers to enable rapid UAV deceleration while landing.

Faun Trackway USA business development vice-president Mike Holdcraft said: "The mat provides a fast and effective means for deploying and retrieving drones in whatever climate or environment, giving users the potential to dramatically increase flight range and the length of operations as a result."

The company is also offering associated ancillary equipment including lighting systems, painted markings, generators, heat-protective gloves and electric hammer drills as part of the contract. Australian consultants Mackay Defence provided ongoing support during contract negotiations and will also act as Faun Trackway’s local distributor.

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