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Australian Army rolls out Black Hornet Nano unmanned aerial systems

Australian Army rolls out Black Hornet Nano unmanned aerial systems

As recently
announced
by the Australian Department of Defence, unmanned aerial systems (UAS)
will soon be rolled out to Australian Army soldiers in Brisbane following the
completion of the Black Hornet Nano UAS Program.

The Black Hornet Nano UAS rollout and sustainment is an A$18
million project and is a key capability milestone for the Army as it continues
to be a technologically advanced force.

According to the press statement, the Australian Army has
been the largest and most experienced operator of UAS in the country for well
over a decade. The Australian Army operate several UAS, ranging from the nano-sized
reconnaissance Black Hornet to large, nine-hour endurance surveillance systems
such as the Shadow 200.

The Black Hornet Nano UAS rollout and sustainment is an A$18
million project and is a key capability milestone for the Army as it continues
to be a technologically advanced force.

Credit: Department of Defence

Brigadier Susan Coyle, Commander 6th Brigade and the Army’s
only UAS unit, the 20th Surveillance Target Acquisition Regiment, said the
Black Hornet Nano UAS rollout was a significant achievement for Army.

The Australian Army is currently the biggest user of Nano
UAS in the world. It is also the first in the world to proliferate the
technology to the conventional forces down to combat platoon level.

“UAS are a game-changer for the Army, providing enhanced
situational awareness for better mission execution for Australian soldiers,” said
Brigadier Coyle.

“The issue of the Black Hornet Nano UAS to our soldiers is
an exciting example of adopting tactical robotic technology,” she added.

Credit: Department of Defence

In October 2017, FLIR Systems announced that it had been awarded
a US$6.8
million contract
to deliver Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance Systems
(PRS) to the Australian Army. The UAS units will support platoon and troop
level organic surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The Australian
Army previously purchased the Black Hornet PRS for test and evaluation
purposes, leading to the awarded contract for full operational deployment after
a re-competed tender.

In June last year, Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon
Marise Payne, and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, also
announced
an A$101 million investment into small UAS to support the Australian Defence Force.

According to the press statement, the new world-class
surveillance and reconnaissance capability acquired by Defence will give Australian
soldiers an edge on the front line.

Minister Payne said the systems were small enough to be
carried, assembled and used by one person, and allowed the soldier to 'see over
the hill, around the corner and down the road'.

“Importantly, a significant proportion of this investment
will remain in Australia, with local industry content valued at approximately
$11 million for acquisition, plus up to $4 million each year for sustainment,” said
Minister Pyne.

According to the statement, Australian Defence will work
closely with Australian industry through the Centre for Defence Industry
Capability to maximise opportunities for local companies to get involved in
this important project to ensure that the investment would provid opportunities
for Australian industry.

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