Orbital UAV’s market-leading engine will power the Stork-STM, a heavy lift uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) being developed by Animal Dynamics. 

Orbital UAV (ASX:OEC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Animal Dynamics,  the first formal step toward building a partnership that OEC hopes will foster a collaboration and drive innovation between the two companies.

The agreement will explore initial concepts for building an advanced propulsion system to power the Stork-STM, a heavy lift uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) being developed by Animal Dynamics.

Stork-STM was designed to carry heavy cargo weighing 135kg up to 400km (the distance between London and Amsterdam).

The aircraft’s ability to operate beyond the visual line of sight and takeoff/land across short distances means that it is ideally suited for military resupply, humanitarian aid and emergency response missions.

Orbital UAV’s industry-leading propulsion engine is expected to allow Stork-STM to excel across the wide range of environmental conditions the aircraft will fly in.

“Animal Dynamics represents an exciting opportunity to take Orbital UAV’s patented engine technology into the European market and expand our global reach,” said Todd Alder, CEO of Orbital UAV.

“Stork-STM is a groundbreaking UAS that will create a unique solution for the defence sector, and beyond.”

The MoU will not impact Orbital UAV’s forecast revenue for FY23, which is expected to hit $20-$25 million at this stage.

Accelerating commercial deployment

Orbital UAV’s reliable and maintainable engine has the proven ability to operate in extreme temperatures, from -30°C up to 49°C.

This ability will play a crucial role in the strategic deployment of Stork-STM, bringing a potential global operating domain to a vehicle designed to work in the harshest and most austere environments.

Commercial deployment  is expected to be rapid, as Orbital UAV’s in-house prototyping and cradle-to-grave capabilities enable the company to take an engine from concept and definition, through to full rate engine production and in-service support.

“Orbital represents our first choice to develop the best possible powertrain for our vehicle,” says Kevin Allington, CEO of Animal Dynamics.

“We’re confident our customers will be able to rely on their performant and reliable technology in the most difficult operating environments.”

Animal Dynamics already has an early generation product, the Stork ST-25, out in the market and it is now accelerating the commercial rollout of Stork-STM.

As well as powering Stork-STM vehicles, Orbital UAV’s engine will also power a sovereign Australian vehicle, Pelican, which is being developed in conjunction with Animal Dynamics and Omega Dev Group in Sydney.

“Orbital’s world class engineering is another good reason for the Australian Defence Force to be confident that our Pelican UAV brings class leading performance and value for money,” said Blair Hickey, CEO of Omega Dev.

Heavy fuel’s global demand

Heavy fuel engine capability continues to be a growing requirement for the global UAS market.

As more of the market’s players look to meet this requirement, Orbital UAV’s unique technology and industry leading engine performance continues to expand the company’s customer portfolio.

Adler says  the logistical and safety benefits of heavy fuel, combined with Orbital UAV’s patented technology and proven capability, continue to drive the company’s global growth opportunity.

“We already have established contracts with prime contractors in the US and our major Singapore defence customer,” he said.

“This opportunity with Animal Dynamics expands our global reach and builds on a number of other near-term opportunities.”




This article was developed in collaboration with Orbital Corporation, 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.