The Australian Department of Defence has established a new air defence targets project that may include supersonic sea-skimming drones as well as a replacement for its BAE Systems MQM-107E system. Designated Joint Project 66, the new requirement is due to be considered by senior defence acquisition committees during the third quarter of this year, with a market survey and requirements determination process about to start.

Formal Australian government funding approvals for the project are being proposed for 2007-8, with the new capability to enter service between 2008 and 2010. The DoD says the project aims to pursue a "system of systems" approach, with requirements expected to include towed and signature-enhanced subscale targets. If it is progressed, the supersonic sea-skimming target requirement may involve acquisition of a service-based arrangement with another country.

n Joint Project 66 desk officer Sqn Ldr David Riddel will present an overview of the air defence targets requirement at the third Unmanned Systems Asia Pacific international conference in Melbourne, Australia on 10-11 March. See to register.

Source: Flight International