Canberra-based company XTEK Ltd has been awarded a contract to provide repairs, maintenance and support services for the Australian Defence Force’s growing fleet of Wasp All Environment (AE) small unmanned aerial systems.
Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price said this impressive capability allows Australian soldiers to obtain a faster and better understanding of the battlefield, without exposing them to unnecessary risks.
“The Wasp AE small unmanned aerial system is small enough to be carried, assembled and used by one person allowing the soldier to see over the hill, around the corner and down the road,” Minister Price said. ”This new contract is for an initial term of three years with options to extend through to 2026, with an anticipated value of up to $5 million per year. It will directly assure up to 10 jobs in addition to supporting other jobs in the supply chain.”
The contract support services include procurement of spare parts, training, maintenance and repairs – including electronics and composite repairs – with work to be carried out at XTEK’s recently completed small unmanned aerial systems repair and maintenance facility in Canberra.
59 Wasp AE small unmanned aerial systems have been delivered to the Australian Defence Force to date, with a further 20 scheduled to arrive in 2020.
The Wasp AE is the all environment version of Wasp III Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) developed by American technology company AeroVironment.
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 ground control system (GCS) with a communications range of 5 km and flight endurance of 50 minutes.