Final five picked for naval drone program


The shortlist has been announced for Block One of SEA129 Phase 5 maritime unmanned aerial system (UAS) program.

BAE Systems Australia, Insitu Pacific, Northrop Grumman Australia, Raytheon Australia, and Textron Systems Australia were named. 

“This Program will acquire maritime unmanned intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting aircraft systems which will complement current sensors and systems on Navy’s ships, while boosting a ship’s area of surveillance,” said Marise Payne, the acting minister for defence.

Block One is the first part of the 30-year program, with five-year blocks introducing technology upgrades.

According to defence industry minister Melissa Price, the rolling block upgrades would support development of the local UAV industry.

“This process will allow Australian businesses to be directly involved in providing greater situational awareness for the Fleet, in particular the new Arafura Offshore Patrol Vessels, while strengthening long-term job growth and security.” 

The shortlist was originally to be released on December 17, but was delayed, with a high level of interest following the invitation to respond on August 6 cited.

Picture: Textron’s Aerosonde UAS (

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