General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) and Leidos have concluded that they will maintain their commercial partnership through Cobham Australia. Once Leidos completed its purchase of the Cobham Special Mission company in October 2022, the latter established itself as the GA-ASI’s major industry collaborator in Australia to conduct defence and security business.
The agreement will help to make it easier for negotiations to take place over a Defence Armed Remotely Piloted Aircraft System and the future crewed/uncrewed aircraft system that the Australian Border Force will utilise as part of the Civil Maritime Capability Program.
In addition, Leidos and GA-ASI are discussing the possibility of working together on future defence projects in Australia and the United States.
According to Ken Loving, GA-ASI’s regional vice president for the Indo-Pacific area, the company developed the collaboration arrangement with Leidos following the start of the business relationship with Cobham in 2006.
The outstanding partnership that Cobham Special Mission has established with GA-ASI over the last 17 years will reportedly be maintained and expanded upon by the company, as stated by Paul Chase, the Chief Executive Officer of Leidos Australia. When the company bought Special Mission the previous year, it did so because it saw an incredible opportunity to expand its existing capabilities and services while also seeking new business opportunities in Australia and elsewhere worldwide.
At the Avalon Air Show in February 2017, the provider of contract aviation services in Australia, Cobham, launched with GA-ASI the Team Reaper Australia solution for the demand of Project Air 7003. Cobham served as a part of the main team for GA-ASI in Australia. Cobham wrote in a press release that it had extensive experience across Australia and Europe in support of defence and government operations, training, and support requirements. Cobham was then providing maintenance support for the Reaper Ground Control Station (GCS) at RAF Waddington under similar teaming arrangements with GA-ASI in the UK. According to the release, Cobham and GA-ASI had worked together for more than 12 years to introduce and prepare for the whole-of-life support requirements for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in Australia.
The two firms announced in the year 2020 that the industry team created for the development and delivery of MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPAS for Australia would be renamed “Team SkyGuardian Australia” (TSGA). Before, the team was known as “Team Reaper Australia.”
Team SkyGuardian Australia comprised ten of Australia’s most prestigious enterprises, each of which offered a unique set of capabilities in sensor and communication technology, manufacturing, and life-cycle support. Cobham, Raytheon Australia, CAE, Collins Aerospace, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Quickstep, Airspeed, Ultra, and Sentient Vision Systems were among the ten companies that comprised the TSGA. Cobham served as the principal industry partner for the TSGA.
The 2020 release stated that the MQ-9B SkyGuardian would provide much-needed protection and support to Australian Land Forces while having considerable potential to expand support into Multi-Domain Operations through GA-ASI’s advanced capabilities. These advanced capabilities would include Anti-Submarine Warfare, self-protection, Electronic Warfare, Detect and Avoid systems, and various advanced networking solutions. The release also stated that the MQ-9B SkyGuardian would have considerable potential as these roles are well suited for the MQ-9B, making it a great candidate for the ADF’s future operations outlined in the 2020 Defense Strategy Update.