Orbital’s inclusion in the federal government’s LAND129 program is proof of the practical application of its technology for mission-critical Defence projects.

Tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) specialist Orbital Corp (ASX:OEC) will play a key role in a major Australian Defence project under the federal government’s recently announced LAND129 Phase 3 program.

And in an announcement to the market this morning, the company highlighted how its position in the market gives it a unique advantage not just in Australia, but for tactical UAV requirements more broadly across the global defence sector.


Sovereign capability

Highlighting today’s announcement was news that Orbital played host to Australia’s Minister for Defence, Peter Dutton, at its Perth headquarters last week.

The purpose of the visit was to give Dutton and Federal MP Vince Connelly the opportunity to visit Orbital UAV’s Balcatta facility, where it will manufacture the propulsion systems “responsible for powering the Australian Army’s next generation of Tactical Uncrewed Aerial Systems (‘UAS’)”, Orbital said.

For Orbital chairman John Welborn, it represented an opportunity “to showcase the advanced technology and aerospace manufacturing expertise that will support the delivery of a critical capability to the Australian Army”.

Investors responded to the announcement, sending Orbital shares more than 6% higher in morning trade to 33c.

Welborn added that Orbital’s selection in the national Defence project is a by-product of its global reputation through its existing supply relationships with multinational customers, including Boeing subsidiary Insitu.

Earlier this month, Minister Dutton announced that Insitu Pacific Pty Ltd will be the preferred supplier for the LAND129 Phase 3 project.

The contract includes “delivery and initial support of the Integrator UAS as well as associated Ground Systems and Prime Systems Integrator services”, Orbital said.

As Insitu Pacific’s primary engine supplier, Orbital UAV “will manufacture and supply all propulsion systems associated with the Integrator platforms currently under the contract”, the company added.

Delivery of the Integrator UAS is expected through 2023 and 2024.

In comments accompanying the LAND129 project announcement, Dutton stressed the importance of roles that companies like Orbital play in building out a sovereign defence capability with proprietary technology developed on Australian shores.

Insitu Pacific, “will manufacture the new platform at their facility in Brisbane, and integrate components provided by suppliers from around Queensland and across Australia”, Dutton said.


Market position

Further demonstrating the strength of its market position developed through years of intellectual property development and key contract wins, Orbital also flagged additional opportunities in the global Tactical UAS sector

Recent highlights include the company’s inclusion in the 2022 Australian Defence Sales Catalogue – an annual report published by the Australian Defence Export Office.

The catalogue is “used as a key export marketing tool for facilitating foreign government interest in the Australian defence industry”, Orbital said, with all products and services subject to “an independent and rigorous assessment process” before being approved for inclusion.

In addition, the Orbital executive team will also present as part of Team Defence Australia at the 2022 Sea-Air-Space Exposition in Maryland, USA, to be held from April 4-6.

“Sea-Air-Space is acutely relevant to our current target customer market, and provides a great opportunity to demonstrate our industry leading technology on the global stage with the backing of Team Defence Australia,” Orbital CEO Todd Alder said.

“Our heavy fuel engine technology and capability is critical for uncrewed aerial vehicles within the maritime domain and we look forward to demonstrating this at the show.”


This article was developed in collaboration with Orbital OEC, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.