BAE Systems Australia has teamed with local industry to present Australia’s first domestically designed, manufactured and armed VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) Uncrewed Air System (UAS).
STRIX is being developed by BAE Systems Australia and Perth-based Innovaero and launched today at the 2023 Avalon Airshow in Geelong, Australia.
A hybrid, tandem wing, multi-domain and multi-role UAS capability, STRIX could be used for a variety of missions including air to ground strike against hostile targets and persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). It could also act as a ‘loyal wingman’ for military helicopters.
Designed to carry up to a 160kg payload over 800km, STRIX has a collapsed footprint of 2.6m x 4.5m to be transported in standard shipping. Its VTOL capability means STRIX could be used without relying on an airfield. It could also be operated from a helicopter to expand the mission set and protect aircrew in high-threat environments.
BAE Systems has a history of developing autonomous systems globally, including the Taranis and Mantis uncrewed autonomous demonstrator aircraft. The STRIX VMS already guides platforms, including the M113 for the Australian Army’s autonomous systems program and MQ-28 Ghost Bat drone for the Royal Australian Air Force’s autonomy program.
BAE says STRIX will look to increase Australian sovereign capability by 'leveraging domestic expertise, such as Innovaero’s aircraft concept design and rapid prototyping'. The company says there will also be opportunities for wider Australian SMEs and academia to get involved in the development, delivery and flight test of the prototype.
STRIX will have the capacity to accommodate a range of munition types, including those currently in service with the ADF. BAE Systems Australia says it will also deliver a new low-cost precision guided munition, known as RAZER, which could be integrated onto the platform to complement STRIX‘s strike capability.
“STRIX leverages existing, proven technologies to provide an affordable and cost effective capability that is mission configurable and upgradable in response to emerging technologies or threats," BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Officer, Ben Hudson, said.
“STRIX could be ready for operational service as soon as 2026 and work is already underway on a STRIX prototype. We’re excited that this is the first UAS of its kind to be developed in Australia and look forward to working with partners across the country to deliver this capability to customers.”
ADM will report on STRIX in greater depth in the coming weeks.