Imagery of a Royal Australian Air Force MQ-9B. (GA-ASI)
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has named 10 partner companies that will comprise Team Reaper Australia, which will furnish the country's military with either MQ-9A or MQ-9B large UAS.
Australia named GA-ASI as its armed-drone provider last November under Project Air 7003 but has yet to choose between the MQ-9A Predator B, or Reaper, or the in-development MQ-9B, which comes in both air-focused SkyGuardian and maritime SeaGuardian configurations. It would be the third country to select the MQ-9B after the U.K. and Belgium, and a decision is expected this year.
Whichever version of the MQ-9 Australia selects, GA-ASI is filling out the team of companies that will supply and support the country.
"We’ve brought together a world-class group of companies that make up Team Reaper Australia, and the team continues to grow,” said GA-ASI CEO Linden Blue in a Tuesday statement.
So far, there are 10 companies in addition to GA-ASI, each responsible for different things:
- Cobham Aviation Services Australia, Lead Partner – maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), logistics
- CAE Australia – aircraft training devices, training services, support material and courseware
- Airspeed – sovereign payload pods and in-country composite repairs
- Flight Data Systems – Aviation services and products, including environmental testing of line-replaceable units, flight data acquisition, monitoring and analysis
- Raytheon Australia – electro-optical/infrared image systems and integration of payloads and weapons
- Collins Aerospace – fast attack (FasTAK) network joint fires on Rosetta datalink processor gateway for digital joint fires
- Quickstep Technologies – composite component manufacturing
- Sentient Vision Systems – autonomous detection systems, including all environmental visual detection and ranging (ViDAR) wide-area motion imagery
- TAE Aerospace – Honeywell TPE331 engine MRO and other powerplant-related component manufacturing
- Ultra Electronics Australia – electronic warfare payloads
A timeline has not yet been released for delivery of GA-ASI's aircraft to the Australian Defense Force, but some hint may be available in the form of the MQ-9B's production timeline. It is currently on pace, according to GA-ASI, with first delivery to the United Kingdom in the early 2020s.