Eleven Australian companies are expected to demonstrate uncrewed aerial system prototypes in the Australian Defence Force’s Sovereign UAS Challenge scheduled in April.
According to the Australian Minister of Defence’s office, the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator is running the innovation contest to supply new capabilities to the ADF. ASCA was formed in May to transition game-changing concepts into capabilities that provide ADF elements with a warfighting advantage.
ASCA has awarded contracts worth $790,000 for the 11 companies to develop the prototypes and submit plans specifying their drones’ projected production volume and delivery timetable to indicate how quickly they can supply the UAS.
The ADF cited drones as “versatile and cost-effective platforms that provide near-real-time situational awareness,” with their use extending to other government agencies’ tasks, such as surveying.
The companies participating in the challenge are AMSL Aero, Autonomous Technology, Bask Aerospace, Boresight, Crystalaid Manufacture, DefendTex Military Products, Edinburgh Drone Company, Geodrones Australia, Ichor Autonomy, SYPAQ Systems and V-TOL Aerospace.
The drone accelerator challenge followed ASCA’s announcement in December of its search for industry and research partners on potential solutions for long-range ADF strike operations.