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Small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS), a proven capability in service with militaries around the world, will be supplied to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Under the agreement, XTEK is the prime contractor and will deliver a range of products worth circa A$42 million to the ADF over three years, commencing 1 July 2018.

AeroVironment will formally execute the contracts to deliver Wasp AE unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to the ADF.

AeroVironment is working closely with Australian partners XTEK, General Dynamics Mediaware and Sentient Vision to provide Wasp AE, which will then be modified with Australian content to meet both ADF and Australia industry needs.

According to UASvision, the two companies will provide local maintenance, training and field support to serve the immediate needs of ADF while expanding AeroVironment’s global support capabilities.

According to AeroVironment website, the Wasp AE is the all environment version of AeroVironment’s battle proven Wasp III. With special design considerations for maritime and land operations, Wasp AE delivers, in a man packable asset, exceptional features of superior imagery, increased endurance, encrypted video, and ease of use that is inherent in all AeroVironment UAS solutions.

Operating virtually undetected, Wasp AE’s mechanically stabilized EO/IR gimbal payload transmits advanced imagery in high wind conditions for mission effectiveness. It also features hand-launch capabilities, with a deep-stall landing in confined areas on land or water. Wasp AE can be operated manually or programmed for autonomous operation, utilizing the system’s advanced avionics and precise GPS navigation.

The UAV is operated from AeroVironment’s battle proven ground control system (GCS) with a communications range of 5 km and flight endurance of 50 minutes. AeroVironment’s common GCS interfaces with all of its tactical ISR air vehicles reducing the level of training required and decreasing the time and cost involved.

XTEK will act as the supplier of the WASP AE for AeroVironment.