New Australian UAS-Loitering Munition Collaboration

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Insitu Pacific and Innovaero have announced a collaboration to develop a new loitering munition and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) combination for the Australian Department of Defense, a system that will provide Australia with a long-range strike capability using uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS). The combination includes IPL’s “Integrator” ISR UAS and Innovaero’s “One-Way Loitering” (OWL) munition.

Managing Director of Insitu Pacific Andrew Duggan said in a press release: “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.” He further explained that the concept is designed to achieve seamless integration with current Australian Defense Force systems, including the Integrator, and offers great potential to become an integral strike asset.

The IPL “Integrator” is an advanced version of the UAS and is designed to provide Group 4 and 5 capabilities in a Group 3 UAS. Groups 4 and 5 are the largest UASs, weighing around 600 kg and operating at all speeds and altitudes, with Group 4 usually operating below 18,000 feet and Group 5 above 18,000 feet. Group 3 are UAS that weigh between 25 and 600 kg, operate below 18,000 feet, and have a top speed of 463 kph.

According to Interesting Engineering, Innovaero’s “OWL” is an electrically powered munition with a maximum range of nearly 200 km, and the ability to loiter at a range of 100 km for up to 30 minutes. Innovaero explains that precision targeting of stationary and moving targets is achieved using an electro-optical/infrared camera.

The companies are expected to develop, test, and field the collaborative system using Insitu Pacific’s common ground control station (GCS) and INEXA software to control UAS and long-range OWLs.

Simon Grosser, Innovaero Group CEO, said: “The versatility of the proposed combined ISR and strike solution provides a significantly shorter ‘sensor to shooter’ loop to engage emerging threats.”

Development and testing for the Integrator/OWL system are expected to continue through 2023.