Australia’s Orbital UAV announced it has signed a new engine development and supply agreement with Textron subsidiary, Lycoming Engines. The new agreement includes a 12-month engine development program, which will enable the integration of an Orbital UAV-designed core engine, including proprietary fuel and engine control systems, into Textron Systems’ Aerosonde program. Textron subsidiary Textron Systems is one of the largest suppliers of tactical UAVs to the US armed forces.

Upon satisfactory completion of the engine development program, the agreement transitions to an engine supply contract. The supply agreement includes the provision of engines, spare parts and support services and will run for a minimum of five years. Lycoming then has the discretion to call for five additional one-year extensions to complete the full 10-year term.

Delivery of production engines under the agreement will be no earlier than quarter four of financial year ending 30 June 2022. Consequently, Orbital UAV’s revenue guidance for the current financial year (12 months to 30 June 2021) remains unchanged at A$30 million to A$40 million. The potential impact of the agreement on future revenues will not be certain until the completion of the engine development program and the scheduling of any committed engine deliveries under the engine supply contract.

“We are delighted to announce this major new collaboration with Lycoming and to be working with Textron Systems on a joint development program,” said Todd Alder, CEO and managing director of Orbital UAV. This relationship further enhances our status within the global UAV defence industry and provides the opportunity to increase our market share and deliver on our strategic growth objectives.”

Wayne Prender, senior vice president, Air Systems at Textron Systems, said: “For more than four decades, Textron Systems has been designing, manufacturing, operating and supporting some of the world’s most reliable and trusted multi-mission unmanned aircraft, including the Aerosonde and Shadow systems. Orbital UAV’s heavy fuel technology and design expertise coupled with Lycoming Engines’ World Class reputation further supports Textron Systems’ industry-leading UAV mission readiness rates and reputation for reliability and durability.”


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