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New Zealand Army to receive new unmanned systems

The Vector fixed-wing remotely piloted aerial system. (Quantum Systems)

The New Zealand Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 14 December that it has awarded contracts to three companies for small, micro, and nano unmanned aircraft systems (UASs).

Sarah Minson, deputy secretary for Capability Delivery at the MoD told Janes that EPE New Zealand Limited (EPE) will supply the Skydio X-series of quadcopter micro UAS and the Flexnet Remote Ground System (RGS) from Bertin Exensor.

Meanwhile, Quantum Systems Inc would supply its Vector fixed-wing remotely piloted aerial system (RPAS) while Criterion Solutions will supply the Teledyne Black Hornet nano UAS.

β€œThe first deliveries will be from 2024,” she said, but the total number of units to be procured in each category and the contract values could not be disclosed for operational reasons.

The contracts were awarded in September and October 2023 following a request for proposal (RFP) that was released in May 2022. These called for two to four fixed-wing UASs, 18–30 micro RPASs, and 30–40 nano UASs.

The Skydio X2D UAS has a ruggedised frame and is equipped with six 4K navigation cameras providing 360Β° obstacle avoidance and a dual-sensor payload including a 12 megapixel colour camera and FLIR 320Γ—256 thermal sensor. The MoD stated that the Skydio X2D UAS can be operational in less than 75 seconds.

EPE is also providing the Flexnet RGS, which Exensor states comprises a handheld tablet or personal digital assistant (PDA), and a couple of sensors and cameras in its smallest form. These are used to protect military personnel or small critical assets.

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