Innovaero loitering munition to be bought by Army – report


The Australian Army is to purchase a loitering drone munition or bomb by the end of the year with media reports suggesting that it will buy Perth-based Innovaero’s One-Way Loitering (OWL) munition being developed in association with Boeing subsidiary Insitu Pacific (IPL).

ABC reports that an electrically powered drone able to travel almost 200 kilometres or loiter in the air for 30 minutes carrying a lethal payload will be brought into service, with the Army impressed by the Innovaero Owl.

According to the ABC: “It’s a good story of an Aussie company with a really impressive UAV. Special forces love it, and rightly so,” said one defence figure familiar with the product’s evaluation.”

In October, 2023 the two companies announced they were working on a new loitering munition as a long-range strike capability using uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS).

The work would combine:

  • IPL’s Integrator, which provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)
  • And Innovaero’s One-Way Loitering (OWL) munition which can strike a long-range target after flying directly to it or circling overhead.

At the time the managing director Insitu Pacific Andrew Duggan said: “This unified approach would combine uncrewed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and long-range strike capabilities to rapidly deliver direct effects in the engagement zone without the need for crews in larger air assets being put at risk.

“The concept is designed to achieve seamless integration with current Australian Defence Force systems, including the Integrator, and offers great potential to become an integral strike asset.”

Innovaero has been awarded more than $5.3 million in Defence contracts since May 2022 to develop the aircraft.

Innovaero is developing a second armed VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) drone with BAE Systems Australia, named STRIX.

With a hybrid, tandem wing, multi-domain and multi-role UAS capability, STRIX could be used for a variety of missions including air to ground strike against hostile targets and persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).

Further reading:
Insitu and Innovaero to develop unmanned aerial attack systems
BAE Systems develops new sovereign drone and guided missile

Picture: Insitu/Innovaero Owl

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