STRIX: Australia's first VTOL military drone will be operational by 2026

BAE System's tail-sitting X-winged unmanned aerial vehicle is capable of carrying out several tasks
Can Emir

BAE Systems Australia has created Australia’s first VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) uncrewed air system in collaboration with local industry (UAS). 

STRIX was introduced at the 2023 Avalon Airshow in Geelong, Australia, as the result of a partnership with Perth-based Innovaero. The partnership combines BAE Systems’ extensive understanding of autonomous platforms and its vehicle management system (VMS) technology with Innovaero's competence in designing and producing aerospace products for the Australian market.

Capable of carrying out several tasks

STRIX is a hybrid, tandem-wing, multi-domain, and multi-role UAS capable of carrying out several tasks, such as persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and air-to-ground strikes against hostile targets (ISR). It might serve as a military helicopter's "faithful wingman." 

STRIX is expected to be able to travel 497 miles (800 km) while carrying up to 1,345 pounds (160 kg) of payload. It will be able to operate in hazardous conditions. It may be readily carried in a conventional shipping container because of its compressed footprint of 8.5 feet (2.6 m) by 14.7 feet (4.5 m). STRIX might be utilized without a runway, thanks to its VTOL capability. It could also be operated from a helicopter to increase the mission set and safeguard the pilots in dangerous situations.

Platforms such as the M113 for the Australian Army's autonomous systems program and the MQ-28 Ghost Bat drone for the Royal Australian Air Force's autonomy program are already guided by the STRIX VMS.

BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Officer, 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.

“STRIX could be ready for operational service as soon as 2026, and work is already underway on a STRIX prototype,” Hudson added.

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