AIM Defence buys high-altitude drone company NearSat


AIM Defence, a company specialising in applications using directed energy and artificial intelligence, has acquired high-altitude long-endurance drone maker NearSat, in a move that AIM says brings together complementary technologies and sees it “bucking the trend of innovative Australian companies being taken offshore”.

In a statement on Monday, AIM said it represented a “natural fit” for its expertise in optical communications, AI and beam direction technology, accelerated its remote sensing offerings, and brought in-house “the capability to quickly integrate onto a world class platform.”

NearSat has developed a drone-based sensing platform, offered through a “an airframe-as-a-service” business model.

“The capabilities that NearSat bring to AIM represent an important step toward achieving true global competitiveness with Australian made tech,” said Dr Jae Daniel, co-founder with Jessica Glenn at Derrimut, Victoria-based AIM.

The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.

AIM described Brisbane-based NearSat as world-leading in HALE drone construction and its high-altitude distributed network architecture. AIM makes solutions based on high-powered lasers, and announced an 18-month project with Defence Science & Technology Group in early-2022 to improve the accuracy of its drone-destroying lasers. Its products also have applications in a range of civilian areas, including “anti-paparazzi” use at VIP events. 

AIM has been involved in collaborative projects with the Australian Defence Force and DTSG for the last four years.

Picture: Maiden test flight of NearSat’s Eagle Hawk High-Altitude Long-Endurance airframe (supplied)

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