Australian Army Drone Racing Team retains international title

In an epic battle to the finish, the Australian Army Drone Racing Team (AADRT) retained its championship title at the Military International Drone Racing Tournament held during the Australian International Airshow.

CAPTION: Australian Army Cadets, Sergeant Kyle Croghan, left, and Corporal Lewis Sanderson repair a racing drone at the 2023 Avalon International Airshow. Photo by Warrant Officer Class 2 Mick Davis.

Military drone racing teams from Singapore, Indonesia, United Kingdom and New Zealand competed in the three-day event against the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force teams at Avalon in early March.

In a thrilling finish, AADRT just edged ahead of New Zealand to retain the title.

Private Hamish Glover set the quickest time around the track to win the fastest individual pilot award.

Army team captain Sapper Alex Brown was thrilled at the win and the high standard of racing demonstrated by all the pilots.

“The level of skill among all the pilots just keeps getting better,” Sapper Brown said.

“It has been a fantastic week of racing, teamwork and friendly rivalry.

“To have six military drone-racing teams here at Avalon is a huge thrill and is evidence of the growing popularity of the sport.”

In another first, the Australian Army Cadets Drone Racing Team competed in the event, with five of the fastest cadet drone racers getting the opportunity to display their flying, building and repairing skills.

Cadet Corporal Lewis Sanderson won the Champion ADF Cadet pilot trophy.

“It’s amazing to be here at the Avalon Airshow and be part of the drone racing in this huge tent with some of the fastest racers in the world,” Cadet Corporal Sanderson said.

“I have learnt so much, and it is especially exciting to meet and fly with the world champion, Thomas Bitmatta.”

Long-time supporter of the ADF Drone Racing teams, world champion drone racer Thomas Bitmatta, passed on some of his knowledge and advice to the drone racers.

“I am always so impressed by the quality of drone racing at these events and also just the friendships and camaraderie among the pilots,” he said.

“There is always someone ready to help out with a spare part or advice to keep everyone in the air.”

Drone racing is an authorised and encouraged adaptive sport in the Australian Army.


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