The Australian defense ministry has awarded Melbourne-based Sypaq an A$3.5 million contract to develop an unmanned aerial system with potential future applications for the Royal Australian Navy.
The contract was announced at the PACIFIC 2019 conference in Sydney.
Sypaq will develop a small Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) with a hybrid power delivery system and the capacity to operate effectively in harsh environmental conditions, such as those that can be experienced at sea.
Defense industry minister Melissa Price praised the company for the innovative solution adding that the technology would enhance situational awareness for maritime operations if successful.
“This UAS would be capable of operating from ships at sea and performing a range of surveillance and reconnaissance operations,” Price said.
The defense ministry did not provide specifics about the system but the company offers a range of small Arcturus UAS that have an endurance of up to 16 hours. One of the more innovative systems is the “JUMP” vertical launch and landing UAS that offers the versatility of a rotorcraft air vehicle with the advantage of fixed wing endurance. Fitted with quad vertical rotors, the fixed-wing UAS has a total payload capacity (fuel + useable payload) of approximately 60 lbs.
A JUMP 20 VTOL UAS deployed with the Mexican Navy in 2016. Back then, the company said it proposed a heavy fuel version of the T-20 JUMP for the Royal Australian Navy’s tactical unmanned aircraft program.