The New Zealand Army will deploy uncrewed aircraft systems and remote ground sensors starting in 2024, with the country’s Ministry of Defence awarding purchase contracts for the equipment to three companies.
The ministry announced on Thursday that the contracted suppliers include EPE New Zealand for backpack portable quadcopter micro UAS and remote ground systems. U.S.-based Quantum-Systems is being tapped for backpack portable UAS, while Australian company Criterion Solutions has a supply contract for nano UAS.
EPE’s aircraft system can operate within 75 seconds, while the ground sensors employ a seismic, acoustic and infrared combination for moving object detection and identification. Both equipment will be deployed to the 2/1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment.
Criterion’s nano UAS, designed with a single rotor airframe and operable within 20 seconds, will also go to the 2/1 Royal New Zealand Infantry’s arsenal. The Quantum-Systems UAS, which features a three-meter wingspan when assembled, can go on a surveillance mission within three minutes.
The new systems will be unarmed, with their primary use in situational awareness extension beyond the line of sight. Besides their deployment in military risk assessments and operations planning, the UAS will also be used in humanitarian, disaster relief, and search and rescue missions.