Elbit Systems of Australia (ELSA) has won a contract to supply Small Uncrewed Aerial Systems (SUAS) and maintenance services to the Australian Army.
The Skylark I-LEX SUAS+ contract will support the Army’s UAS capabilities by supplying a bespoke system for Australia Defence Force and civilian support in disaster and humanitarian relief operations.
Managing Director, Major General (ret’d) Paul McLachlan said the project would bolster the Army’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for relief operations.
“This contract is great news for Elbit Systems of Australia as we gain momentum by broadening our offering to the ADF, as well as growth of our uncrewed and autonomous system capability being developed and used in country,” McLachlan said.
“Our Skylark I-LEX SUAS+ will reduce the risk to both Army and civilian personnel when operating in hazardous environments because of its superior intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
“Our Centre of Excellence for Human-Machine Teaming in Melbourne, which is in partnership with the Victorian Government, has already embarked on a number of projects with academic institutions to enhance similar capabilities using human-machine teaming, artificial intelligence, drones and robotics for defence, emergency management and homeland security.”
After a competitive tender process, including preview test and evaluation activities, the contract with Army Reserve Unit 9 Regiment includes delivery and support of mission systems, with sustainment support options until 2030.
Already in use by NATO forces around the world over the past decade, the Skylark I-LEX provides tactical day and night intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance through the latest payload to operators on the ground out to a range of 40km.
Acquisition and sustainment related tasks will be supported by ELSA, which has completed a security and IT transformation to become an Australian sovereign subsidiary of global defence prime Elbit Systems Ltd.
Other UAS of the Skylark family, including the 18-hours endurance Skylark 3 Hybrid, have been selected to date by customers including Israel, France, Netherlands, Sweden, South Korea, Hungary and Poland.