Orbital Corporation Ltd hosted the Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP and Mr Vince Connelly MP, Federal Member for Stirling, Western Australia at its Balcatta headquarters this week. The tour provided the opportunity to showcase Orbital UAV’s growing capability and production capacity for the manufacture of integrated engine systems for military unmanned aerial vehicles (‘UAVs’).
The visit follows Orbital UAV’s inclusion in this year’s Australian Defence Sales Catalogue – released by Minister Price earlier this month – and the Company’s announcement of a new international engine development and supply agreement with Lycoming Engines, a subsidiary of Textron Inc.
The Defence Sales Catalogue is a key tool to support and showcase the products and services of world-leading Australian companies to foreign governments and defence primes. The latest Catalogue demonstrates the growth and breadth of Australia’s defence industry, with 214 businesses featured, a 25 per cent increase from the previous edition.
During the visit, near-term tactical UAV programs currently underway within the Australian Defence Force (ADF) were discussed. The Army’s Land129 Phase 3 program and the Navy’s Sea129 Phase 5 program represent two of the most prominent and strategically important programs.
“Orbital UAV is delighted to be working with two of the leading contenders for both these ADF programs – Insitu Pacific and Textron Systems,” said Todd Alder, CEO and Managing Director of Orbital UAV.
“We have already established ourselves as a world leader in the design and manufacture of integrated engine systems for UAVs. With our unique sovereign industrial capability, our objective is to ensure that any fleet of tactical UAVs purchased by the ADF is powered by our Australian designed and built engines,” said Mr Alder.
Both Land129 and Sea129 are long term programs for the ADF and represent part of the Government’s $270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade.
Developing sovereign capability
Earlier this year, Minister Price announced Orbital UAV as the recipient of an Australian Government Defence Global Competitiveness Grant ($223K) to develop an accelerated test screening system for its patented FlexECU™ technology.
The test system will improve quality control and productivity, helping Orbital UAV meet the demand from its growing global customer base.
In March the Company signed a new contract with Textron / Lycoming for the development and supply of an engine to be integrated into Textron Systems’ Aerosonde program. Textron Systems is a world leader in unmanned aircraft systems and one of the largest suppliers of tactical UAVs to the U.S. armed forces. (see ASX announcement 29 March 2021).
Orbital UAV’s current global customer portfolio now includes Textron subsidiary Lycoming, Boeing subsidiary Insitu Inc., Northrop Grumman and one of Singapore’s largest defence companies.
“It was a privilege to welcome Minister Price and Mr Connelly to our growing manufacturing facility in Perth and provide them with an update on our production progress and future prospects,” said Mr Alder.
“As an established defence industry supplier within the global UAV market, Orbital UAV continues to develop its capability and capacity to capture further international and national opportunities.
“With the combination of our superior, heavy fuel technology and the growing requirements for reliable heavy fuel engines within the UAV defence market, Orbital UAV continues to cement its position as the world leader in our industry,” he said.