BAE Systems and Innovaero present Australia’s ‘first armed’ VTOL Strix
BAE Systems Australia has teamed up with Perth-based Innovaero to launch Australia’s “first domestically designed, manufactured and armed” VTOL known as Strix.
The uncrewed air system (UAS) was revealed at the 2023 Avalon Airshow in Geelong, Australia. The collaboration brings together BAE’s expertise in autonomous platforms and its vehicle management system (VMS) technology with Innovaero’s knowledge of aeronautical product design and manufacture.
BAE Systems Australia CEO, Ben Hudson, said: “Strix leverages existing, proven technologies to provide an affordable and cost effective capability that is mission configurable and upgradable in response to emerging technologies or threats.”
A hybrid, tandem wing, multi-domain and multi-role UAS capability, Strix will be capable of a variety of missions including air to ground strikes and persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Designed to carry up to a 160kg payload over 800km, the foldable Strix has a collapsed footprint of 2.6m x 4.5m, meaning it could be easily transported in a shipping container.
BAE has a history of developing autonomous systems globally, including the Taranis and Mantis uncrewed autonomous demonstrators. The VMS designed for Strix guides platforms already, including the M113 and MQ-28 Ghost Bat drone for the Australian army and air force.
Hudson added: “Strix could be ready for operational service as soon as 2026 and work is already underway on a Strix prototype. We’re excited that this is the first UAS of its kind to be developed in Australia and look forward to working with partners across the country to deliver this capability to customers.”
The aircraft will leverage domestic expertise, such as Innovaero’s aircraft concept design and prototyping. BAE said there will also be opportunities for wider Australian SMEs and academia to get involved in the development, delivery and flight test of the prototype.
“We are continuously exploring how we can support the challenges customers face in both the near term and future battlespace. Alongside core defence programs, we are developing a range of autonomous systems and future concepts,” said Hudson.