Australia set to become regional hubfor unmanned helicopter expansionacross Pacific Rim
The focus on Australia – and its strategic gateway to neighbouring Pacific nations – was cited by David Willems, UMS SKELDAR’s Head of Business Development, as a major priority for the company:
Speaking at PACIFIC 2017, the maritime expo being held at Sydney 3-5 October, Willems continued:
UMS SKELDAR has proposed its V-200 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in its response to a request for information (RFI) from the Australian Department of Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) for a Maritime Tactical Unmanned Air System (MTUAS) to be operated from the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) scheduled Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV). The VTOL unmanned helicopter is powered by a two-cylinder, in-line, two-stroke, liquid-cooled internal combustion engine from Hirth Motors that uses heavy fuel (a type of diesel). The payload includes the ViDAR (visual identification detection and ranging) optical radar system from Melbourne-based global business Sentient Vision Systems, enabling unique deployment of five to 10 cameras for optimal 360-degree maritime domain awareness.
The news from UMS SKELDAR follows closely on the heels of announcements made by joint venture partner Saab – with Saab Australia landing a major deal to provide the tactical interface to the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of nine Future Frigates. The Saab 9LV Combat Management System would form an integral part of the Future Frigate and upgraded Air Warfare Destroyer combat capability as well as being selected for the Offshore Patrol Vessels. In addition, Saab was awarded a contract to provide a complete communications system on board the Royal New Zealand Navy’s future fleet replenishment vessel, HMNZS Aotearoa.