28 Januari 2011
Mincham Aviation managing director Darryl Mincham (r) and chief engineer Dave Betteridge with aerial sensor delivery system aircraft being trialled by the Australian Navy. (photo : The Advertiser)
Defence Trials Mincham UAV
Mincham Aviation’s new unmanned aerial system is currently being trialled by Defence.
Weighing 22 kg and approximately 1.3 metres long, the system is able to deploy sonobuoys traditionally used to detect submarines or for underwater research.
Further development work is ongoing to allow the system to deliver different payloads as decoys, training aids and emergency supplies.
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Mincham Aviation wins Defence contract for unmanned aerial systems
01 November 2010
DEFENCE is trialling unmanned aerial sensor delivery systems developed by a South Australian manufacturer that will help the armed forces save costs and potentially, lives.
Parafield-based Mincham Aviation has designed and developed the Maritime Ranges Sensor Delivery System used to listen to the underwater noise of ships and submarines, for the Defence Materiel Organisation.
The unmanned system, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, weighs about 22kg and can deploy sensors, also known as sonobuoys weighing about 10kg, up to a distance of 15 nautical miles.
Traditionally, these sensors have been deployed by manned aircraft or ships and are used to detect anti-submarine warfare or to conduct underwater acoustic research.
The unmanned vehicles look like mini-planes, are about 1.2m wide and 1.3m long, and are made from aerospace composites.
The Navy could significantly improve the information quality and save tens of millions of dollars in ship time and make detections less hazardous using the improved technology, Mincham Aviation founder and ex-RAAF technician Darryl Mincham said.
Hundreds of sonobuoys are deployed by the Australian Navy and Mincham Aviation expects a large ongoing order for these systems.
"More importantly, we are looking at exports, especially to the UK market, which use thousands of sonobuoys,'' Mr Mincham said.
The company is working with the DMO to further evolve the system to pursue other opportunities, including deploying other sensors, decoys, training aids for maritime use and other payloads for land-based applications, such as emergency supplies.
The small 15-staff firm has grown steadily in the past few years, winning a key contract to make parts for defence giant Boeing's CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
This success and plans to bring more products to market over the coming years now underpin a near $2.5 million investment in a second manufacturing facility at Edinburgh Parks.