The Australian defense department selected AeroVironment’s Wasp AE small unmanned aircraft system for use by the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The Australian order will deliver mini-drones within a period of three-year period, and support the systems for ten years. The contract is worth A$101 million(USD 74.6 million), of which the about half (US$36.5 million) will be the original manufacturer’s share.
This is the largest Australian order for Wasp-AE to date. In 2014 XTEK placed an initial order worth A$7.7 for Wasp AE for the evaluation and training of Australian forces. The current order will support full-scale fielding of the systems.
The Wasp AE weighs 2.8 pounds, operates for up to 50 minutes at a range of up to five kilometers and delivers live, streaming color and infrared video from its pan-tilt-zoom Mantis i22 AE gimbaled payload. Launched by hand and capable of landing on the ground or in fresh or salt water, the Wasp AE provides portability and flexibility for infantry, littoral or maritime reconnaissance operations.
AeroVironment is working closely with Australian partners XTEK, GD Mediaware and Sentient Vision to modify and introduce the WASP AE solution for Australian requirement. XTEK and AeroVironment will provide local maintenance, training, and field support to serve the immediate needs of ADF while expanding AeroVironment’s global support capabilities.