At Farnborough on 16 July UMS SKELDAR, the Saab/UMS joint venture, announced that Australia and the Pacific Rim are the key strategic building blocks for expansion of its SKELDAR V-200 UAV in the land and sea domains. Partnership meetings are timed to coincide with the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, in which 25,000 military personnel and 52 naval vessels and submarines from 26 countries are currently participating.
The company’s commitment, described as a “logical extension of the company’s intention to secure a demo base in Australia,” follows a classified tour that included meetings in Canberra with senior defence personnel and partners with bases in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Australia has been designated as the launchpad for the newly configured next-generation NATO-compliant V-200, boasting more than five hours flight duration, enhancements to the heavy fuel two-stroke engine and considerable airframe weight reduction.
Partnered with Australian companies including Orbital Corporation (Adelaide), Sentient Vision Systems (Melbourne) and Saab Australia, the company stresses its interoperability with a wide range of naval platforms and systems. SKELDAR V-200 is proposed for tactical maritime roles with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for deployment of potentially 24 UAVs on board the 12 new Sea 1180 offshore patrol vessels (OPV) to be built by Lurssen.
“As part of the requirements of the RAN Maritime Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (MTUAS) tender, the SKELDAR V-200 [will] provide the OPVs with an embedded, eye in the sky ISR capability to enhance their ability to perform primary and secondary missions,” commented UMS SKELDAR’s Head of Business Development, David Willems.
“The Pacific Rim is unquestionably a top priority for our business. Our strategy of developing core market opportunities with military and civilian blue-light customers is supported by our key differentiators [...] we are [now] able to increase our advantage in terms of endurance and improved engine management system, with increased range of sensors including ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging), the only proven airborne persistent wide area maritime search system,” added company CEO Axel Cavalli-Björkman.