On day one at the International Airshow at Avalon, BAE Systems Australia unveiled a hybrid, tandem-wing, multi-domain and multi-role unmanned aerial system (UAS), completely designed and built in Australia.
CAPTION: A STRIX mockup unveiled on the BAE Systems stand at the Avalon Airshow. Photo by Brian Hartigan.
Called STRIX, the new four-rotor drone takes off vertically then quickly transitions to winged flight to increase speed and endurance.
The unique configuration, completely designed in Australia, allows the aircraft to perform similar as above without the need for complex, Transformers-like mechanics (see video below).
STRIX could be used for a variety of missions including air-to-ground strike or long-range 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 or, without armaments, perform a five-hour ISR mission, STRIX will be capable of operating in high-risk environments.
With a collapsed footprint of 2.6m x 4.5m, it could easily be transported in a standard shipping container.
It is a vertical-takeoff and vertical-landing aircraft (VTOL), which means STRIX could be used without relying on an airfield – for example, from bush emplacements with Army’s 16th Aviation Brigade, or from the deck of Navy ships at sea.
BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Officer Ben Hudson said STRIX leveraged existing, proven technologies to provide an affordable and cost effective capability that was mission configurable and upgradable in response to emerging technologies or threats.
“STRIX could be ready for operational service as soon as 2026 and work is already underway on a STRIX prototype,” Mr Hudson said.
“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.
“We are continuously exploring how we can support the challenges customers face in both the near-term and future battlespaces.”
BAE Systems said STRIX would look to increase Australian sovereign capability by leveraging domestic expertise, such as Innovaero’s aircraft concept design and rapid prototyping.
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 Australian Defence Force, but the company will also deliver a new, low-cost, precision-guided munition, known as RAZER, which could be integrated onto STRIX to complement the platform’s strike capability.
BAE Systems hopes their new Australian-designed STRIX UAS will be an attractive proposition for the Australian Defence Force as well as a significant export opportunity for Australian defence industry.