Four companies shortlisted for Project LAND 129 Phase 3 to replace Shadow UAS

The replacement of the Army’s Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) through project LAND 129 Phase 3 has progressed to the tendering process, with four companies shortlisted to tender for the project.

The four companies are Insitu Pacific Ltd, Leidos Australia, Raytheon Austraalia Pty Ltd and Textron Systems Australia Pty Ltd. In a news release, Defence says that they have been selected through an abbreviated Invitation to Register process and will be provided a detailed Request for Tender, to further explore plans and conceptual integration designs.

Deputy Director Army UAS Projects, Mr Andrew McKinnon said there are a number of local companies already involved in the Australian Defence Force’s Unmanned Systems space.

“These companies are encouraged to continue their engagement with the LAND 129 Phase 3 down-selected tenderers in order to deliver a world class capability,” Mr McKinnon said, further noting that “Unmanned Aerial Systems are a key component of Army’s Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability, with some smaller Unmanned Systems recently being used on Operation Bushfire Assist.”

The next phase of the project will focus on a competitive evaluation of more comprehensive tendered solutions from the four Primes, prior to progressing the project to Government consideration in 2021.

The Army is seeking to replace the 18 AAI RQ-7B Shadow 200 Version 1 (SH200 v1) UAS acquired under Joint Project 129 Phase 2 and currently operated by 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment (20 STA Regt).

In an request for Expressions of Interest listed on Austender in 2019, CASG noted that “the Shadow 200 v1 is becoming obsolescent from 2019 and will be replaced by the Shadow 200 v2 in the US Army inventory”, however added that the “Shadow 200 (both versions) have a number of capability shortfalls that do not support Army’s need for a deployable, amphibious, runway independent capability.

No details on the platforms being considered was provided in the Defence release, however Textron has previously said that it was pitching the Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) for the program.





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Kym Bergmann
Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


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