The contract will determine an engine upgrade pathway for Anduril’s latest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and is a continuation of the collaborative approach Orbital UAV and Anduril have adopted.

Tactical UAV engine specialist Orbital Corp (ASX:OEC) has just signed a contract to support engine development work for Anduril Industries.

Anduril is a US-based defence focused company that’s doing a lot to transform the US, Australian and allied military capabilities with its advanced technologies.

The initial contract will see Orbital UAV’s engineering team working with Anduril to determine an engine upgrade pathway for Anduril’s latest UAV program.

Subject to Anduril’s approval of the upgrade pathway, the development work is expected to be completed in the second half of FY23.

In the meantime, both Anduril and Orbital UAV will also evaluate the potential production responsibilities and volume requirements of the engine going forward.

Although no figures have been disclosed, Orbital UAV says the contract won’t affect its previous revenue forecast of $20-$25m.

Earlier this year, Anduril representatives reviewed Orbital UAV’s operations and heavy fuel engine capabilities in the company’s Western Australia facility.

Members of the Orbital UAV team also visited Anduril’s California headquarters to review programs of work Anduril currently has underway, and to scope out the initial upgrade pathway contract.

Orbital UAV CEO Todd Alder said that having successfully demonstrated Orbital UAV’s superior heavy fuel engine capability to the Anduril team, this contract is a continuation of the collaborative approach the two companies have adopted.

“We’re both working on concepts, products and technical solutions in the evolving uncrewed domain,” Alder said.


Strong collaboration

The contract follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Orbital UAV and Anduril in May this year.

The MoU was seen as an opportunity for OEC to demonstrate its own capabilities as the two companies collaborate to advance the next generation of military technology.

“As we continue to build our relationship with the Anduril teams in the USA and their Asia Pacific subsidiary, Orbital UAV has an opportunity to participate in and influence programs that will be at the forefront of future global UAS operations,” said Alder.

Anduril itself was founded in 2017 by Palmer Luckey, the designer of the Oculus Rift, and founder of Oculus VR which was acquired by Facebook.

The company has special expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), where it seeks to transform allied defence capabilities by fusing AI with the latest hardware technology.

Anduril is also a leader in robotics, advanced sensors, secure networking, aerospace, virtual reality, aircraft modelling and simulation.

The company recently secured a contract worth almost US$1 billion to support the US Special Operations Command’s (SOCOM) counter uncrewed systems.

“Anduril is committed to delivering cutting-edge technology at speed,” said David Goodrich, executive chairman and CEO, Anduril Australia and Asia Pacific.

Goodrich was impressed with the Orbital UAV team, saying that it has been very responsive to Anduril’s current requirements to support the progress of its UAS program.

“We look forward to collaborating with Orbital UAV on this initial engine investigation work, which if successful, may lead to further opportunities to work together in the future,” he said.


Thumbs up from WA Premier

Closer to home, the Australian defence industry also remains strong with a $270bn Federal budget splash allocated to the sector.

Orbital UAV is playing a key role in the domestic sector, after becoming part of a major Australian Defence project under the federal government’s recently announced LAND129 Phase 3 program.

At the state level, the WA Government has also continued to promote and support the State’s defence industry capability and last week, WA Premier Mark McGowan visited the company’s Balcatta facility.

The Premier was joined by Member for Balcatta, David Michael MLA, with the visit providing a fantastic opportunity to showcase Orbital UAV’s existing engine production lines.


Orbital UAV CEO Todd Alder (L), WA Premier Mark McGowan (C), Orbital UAV Chairman John Welborn (R). Source: OEC


“With our unique technology and capabilities within the uncrewed aerospace domain, the entire team was incredibly proud to demonstrate how Orbital UAV is contributing to WA’s growing defence industry capability at this critical time,” said Alder.



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.