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Unmanned Technologies Australia Takes Off

02 September 2005

Unmanned Technologies Australia (UTA) has finalised details of a consortium to develop and commercialise a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The new UAV program, AIRCOMS, will develop a unique airborne communications and surveillance capability suitable for a wide range of military and civil applications.

While nearly 70 Australian aerospace companies have expressed an interest in working with UTA, the initial consortium comprises:
Codarra Advanced Systems
CAE
LSM Advanced Composites
Production Parts, and
Lavender Engineering.

Unmanned Technologies Australia has been formed as a result of an initiative by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources. In response to a recommendation of the Government’s Aerospace Industry Action Agenda, the industry consortium under the auspices of UTA will develop a UAV to showcase the technologies and capabilities of the Australian aerospace industry. UTA is managed by Mr Warren Williams of Codarra and Mr Liam Mahoney of LSM Advanced Composites and has recently applied for a grant under the Industry Cooperative Innovation Program (ICIP).

“UTA is all about showcasing Australian industry through collaboration. Having said that, UTA is being driven by industry with clear commercial imperatives and to that end UTA is looking to be engaged with global programs. UTA is not limited to Australian companies - we welcome both Australian and overseas companies to be a part of this collaboration” said Mr Warren Williams.

“The AIRCOMS project has attracted a lot of international attention from the large aerospace companies. The innovation that will come from the AIRCOMS project will be of substantial benefit to international programs in both Europe and the USA and we welcome the involvement of one of the major players - only one major defence and aerospace company will be permitted in the consortium to simplify management of IP issues.”

“There is room in the consortium for more Australian participants provided companies are committed to the team work necessary for this sort of collaboration to work.”

Unmanned Technologies Australia is currently situated in the Canberra region. It is expected that a facility will eventually be established on a second site which will be collocated with an airport to allow for UAV trials.

With the involvement of LSM Advanced Composites, the only composite company involved in the Aircoms project, the company ensures that composites play an important role in the project. LSM is the only privately owned composite company in Australia with multiple autoclaves for curing. LSM will manufacture the vehicle (wings, tail and fuselage) in the LSM workshop.

A website for the project is currently in development.






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