Babcock, IAI collaborate on remotely piloted aircraft applications

Tuesday, 14 March, 2023

Babcock, IAI collaborate on remotely piloted aircraft applications

Babcock Australasia and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to pursue remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) solutions for law enforcement, maritime surveillance and disaster management applications in Australia.

With the signing of the MoU, Babcock and IAI are planning to undertake a series of in-country demonstrations of two of IAI’s unmanned aerial systems, the WanderB-VTOL and ThunderB-VTOL, this year. As part of this demonstration, they are engaging with state and federal government law enforcement, emergency services and national security agencies to refine a range of practical operational concepts to prove the capabilities.

IAI’s VTOL unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide important benefits for land and maritime applications as they combine the advantages of a fixed wing UAV (long range, long endurance, high speed, wind independency, large area coverage, etc) with the advantages of a multi-copter. The company has over 250 WanderB-VTOL and ThunderB-VTOL systems in use by customers around the world.

Babcock’s Director of Aviation and Critical Services, Peter Newington, said the new partnership with IAI will allow Babcock to offer ‘blended operations’ combining crewed rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft with uncrewed RPAs.

“This partnership with IAI is about bringing together solutions that are the best fit for our customers, integrating our rotary capabilities with RPAs to deliver the most effective and cost-efficient solutions,” he said.

“The addition of autonomous systems reduces operator workloads and augments existing capabilities with flexible, rapidly deployable, long-endurance assets for law enforcement, maritime surveillance, disaster management or environmental situational awareness.

“The platforms are readily configurable to provide appropriate sensors for the task at hand coupled with the ability to distribute video and other user critical data in near real time across end-user networks.

“Importantly, a key element of our offer to state and federal government agencies is that Babcock already holds a remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) which will allow us to operate RPAs like the WanderB-VTOL and ThunderB-VTOL in Australia.”

IAI Australia Managing Director Yonatan Segev said the partnership between IAI and Babcock would provide vital intelligence and situational awareness in real time to the end user, allowing them to effectively execute various missions while keeping the operators out of harm’s way.

“IAI’s systems have been tested in extreme environmental conditions and comply with the end user’s operational needs, providing them with significate operational advantages,” Segev said.

“From the Tactical WanderB-VTOL and ThunderB-VTOL systems to the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) Maritime Heron, IAI looks forward to bringing the most advanced technology together with our partners in Babcock to offer unique operational solutions to customers.”

Image caption: The ThunderB-VTOL takes to the skies.

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