Boeing Australia and Israel Aircraft Industries' (IAI) Malat division are proposing an improved version of the latter's I-View system to meet the Australian Army's Joint Project 129 (JP129) tactical unmanned air vehicle requirement. The new variant would incorporate a 6.7m (22ft) -span wing taken from IAI's Searcher II UAV and have a maximum take-off weight of 250kg (550lb) - substantially greater than the existing I-View design's 165kg maximum. The enhanced design would have a payload capacity of 80kg, against the baseline I-View's 30kg, while retaining the ability to perform precision landings in confined areas using a parafoil recovery system. The UAV's length has also been increased to 5.6m from the current 4.1m.

The Boeing/IAI JP129 bid includes options on three different electro-optic payloads: the IAI Tamam POP 300, Tamam MSOP with an integrated laser designator, or twin fixed field-of-view staring CCD cameras to support low-intensity missions and basic operator training. An Elta-produced synthetic-aperture radar is also on offer. The proposed communications suite comprises a Cubic tactical common datalink terminal and three Raytheon EPLRS radios per air vehicle, with the latter to act as a secondary datalink and to support air traffic voice communications for operations in non-segregated airspace. Each UAV would also carry a Raytheon identification friend-or-foe transponder as baseline equipment.

The bid proposes fulfilling 41% of the total value of the acquisition contract and 87% of the separate in-service support contract through Australian industry subcontracts, with Boeing Australia to serve as the prime contractor for both requirements. Australia's Defence Materiel Organisation plans to make a downselect on the project next June, with rival bids coming from teams comprising BAE Systems Australia/AAI and Elbit Systems and ADI.


Source: Flight International