Shortlist released in Australian Army tactical UAS replacement project

The Australian Army has shortlisted four companies to compete in providing a replacement for its AAI RQ-7 Shadow 200 tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS) under its Project LAND 129 campaign.

The down-selected companies comprise Insitu Pacific, Leidos Australia, Raytheon Australia and Textron Systems Australia, and the programme will now progress to the tendering stage.

RQ-7 Shadow 200 [Commonwealth of Australia - Department of Defence/Bombardier Carly McAllister] #1
An Australian Army AAI RQ-7 Shadow 200 tactical UAS comes into land at multi-national base, Tarin Kot, following a mission. Commonwealth of Australia - Department of Defence/Bombardier Carly McAllister

In a press release from the Australian Department of Defence (DoD), local businesses were thanked for their support in the invitation-to-register phase of the programme.

Andrew McKinnon, deputy director of the Australian Army’s UAS Projects, emphasised the involvement of local companies in the Australian Defence Force’s unmanned systems space. He added that “these companies are encouraged to continue their engagement with the LAND 129 Phase 3 down-selected tenderers in order to deliver a world class capability… Unmanned aerial systems are a key component of [the] army’s surveillance and reconnaissance capability, with some smaller unmanned systems recently being used [during] Operation Bushfire Assist”.

The next phase of the programme will focus on a competitive evaluation of the tendered platforms from each of the four down-selected companies, before the project progresses to government consideration next year.