The Australian government is boosting the Royal Australian Navy’s intelligence capability through Defence’s Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System Continuous Development Program. The program has reached a new milestone following the selection of five respondents to progress to the next phase of the procurement process.
Acting Minister for Defence Marise Payne today announced that BAE Systems Australia, Insitu Pacific, Northrop Grumman Australia, Raytheon Australia, and Textron Systems Australia had been shortlisted for Block One of SEA129 Phase 5.
“This program will acquire maritime unmanned intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting aircraft systems which will complement current sensors and systems on Navy’s ships, while boosting a ship’s area of surveillance,” Payne said. “Today’s milestone is a result of the (government’s) unprecedented A$270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade, which is equipping the Australian Defence Force with world-class, cutting edge capability.”
Block One of the program is the first phase of a 30-year continuous development program, with five-year rolling block upgrades, which will incorporate new technology upgrades.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the project was delivering on the government’s commitment to maximise Australia’s defence industry involvement in the acquisition, operation and sustainment of defence capability. “By incorporating new technology through block upgrades every five years, the program supports the development of Australia’s Unmanned Aircraft System industry, and provides the Navy with a leading edge maritime surveillance capability,” Price said. “This process will allow Australian businesses to be directly involved in providing greater situational awareness for the Fleet, in particular the new Arafura Offshore Patrol Vessels, while strengthening long-term job growth and security.”