From David R. Alexander, President of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI): The Australian Department of Defence has advised of its decision to cancel Project Air 7003, after nearly a decade of efforts toward that acquisition program.
Project Air 7003 was expected to provide the Australian Defence Force with a reliable and desperately needed capability: An armed, medium-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft system providing persistent airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare and precision strike capability for both land and maritime environments.
The cancellation is disappointing for a number of reasons. Project Air 7003 offered a cost-effective, multi-domain capability that is deeply relevant to Australia’s future strategic environment. Equally disappointing, our many Team SkyGuardian Australia partner companies have invested in the start-up and future support for this capability in Australia and will lose considerable sovereign capability opportunities following this decision.
Our MQ-9 aircraft maintain the highest mission-capable rates in the U.S. Air Force at nearly 90 percent and have logged more than 2 million total flight hours. The MQ-9B takes that experience further, providing greater flexibility, increased reliability, and the ability to operate safely and effectively within busy civilian airspace. It offers advantages no aircraft in its class can match.
We remain committed to maintaining a focus on Australian defense and security opportunities and others across the INDOPAC region through our many RPA systems, including our recently announced range of short take-off and next-generation Mojave and Evolution series aircraft. If recent world events have shown us anything, it’s that such capabilities are crucial to the future of global defense and security. We look forward to continued work with the ADF to advance these capabilities for Australia.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI), an affiliate of General Atomics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems, including the Predator® RPA series and the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. With nearly seven million flight hours, GA-ASI provides long-endurance, mission-capable aircraft with integrated sensor and data link systems required to deliver persistent flight that enables situational awareness and rapid strike. The company also produces a variety of ground control stations and sensor control/image analysis software, offers pilot training and support services, and develops meta-material antennas.