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Defense Learning

Defence’s Development Program boosts Navy’s intelligence capability

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development program

Defence’s Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System Continuous Development Program has reached a new milestone with the selection of five respondents to progress to the next phase of the procurement process. 

The Acting Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne announced that BAE Systems Australia, Insitu Pacific, Northrop Grumman Australia, Raytheon Australia, and Textron Systems Australia have been shortlisted for Block One of SEA129 Phase 5. 

“This Program will acquire maritime unmanned intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting aircraft systems which will complement current sensors and systems on Navy’s ships while boosting a ship’s area of surveillance,” Minister Payne said. 

This milestone was a result of the Morrison Government’s unprecedented $270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade. The investment allows the Australian Defence Force to equip themselves with world-class, cutting edge technology. 

Block One of the Program is the first phase of a 30-year continuous development program. There will also be five-year rolling block upgrades that will allow the incorporation of new technology upgrades. 

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the project was delivered on the Morrison Government’s commitment to maximising Australia’s defence industry involvement in the acquisition, operation and sustainment of defence capability. 

“By incorporating new technology through block upgrades every five years, the program supports the development of Australia’s Unmanned Aircraft System industry, and provides the Navy with a leading-edge maritime surveillance capability,” Minister Price said. 

“This process will allow Australian businesses to be directly involved in providing greater situational awareness for the Fleet, in particular, the new Arafura Offshore Patrol Vessels while strengthening long-term job growth and security.” 

Future opportunities will be available in forthcoming Blocks of SEA129 Phase 5 from 2024. 



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