Aussie-Made Lethal Drone ‘The Owl’ to Join Army Within Months

In a significant development for 's military capabilities, the Australian Army is set to introduce the locally developed One-Way Loitering (OWL) munition, also known as “the Owl,” into service before the end of the year. This electrically powered drone, capable of traveling nearly 124 miles or loitering in the air for 30 minutes with a lethal payload, is currently undergoing trials by a special operations unit.

Collaborative Development

The Owl reportedly is the result of a collaboration between Western Australia-based company Innovaero and Boeing subsidiary Insitu Pacific. Since 2022, the army has been working with Innovaero on the development of this unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which is designed to integrate seamlessly with other drones being acquired by the Australian Defence Force.

Positive Reception

A defence figure familiar with the product's evaluation praised the Owl, stating, “It's a good story of an Aussie company with a really impressive UAV. Special forces love it, and rightly so.” The growing importance of armed drone warfare has been ~highlighted during Russia's invasion of Ukraine~, with military experts criticising Australia's lack of urgency in acquiring this deadly technology.

Ongoing Trials and Future Integration

While the Defence spokesperson declined to comment specifically on the Innovaero Owl, they confirmed that a “future loitering munition capability is due to be introduced this calendar year.” The Australian Defence Force is conducting trials from various platforms with both Australian and overseas suppliers to ensure they can deploy the latest technology and maximize their advantages. The introduction of loitering munitions into most Australian Army combat units in the future will be driven by the results of these trials.

Funding Concerns

Despite the progress made with the Innovaero Owl, defence industry insiders have expressed concerns about ~lengthy delays imposed on other urgent innovation programs~ due to a lack of funding. One senior figure, speaking anonymously, stated that the services have limited funding, making it difficult to cover these small programs while also meeting their longer-term needs for ships and aircraft. There appears to be a decision to prioritize big, expensive, and long-term capabilities over small, cheap, and immediate ones.

DroneXL's Take

The introduction of the Innovaero Owl into the Australian Army's arsenal is a significant step forward in the country's military capabilities. As the importance of armed drone warfare continues to grow, it is crucial for Australia to invest in and develop cutting-edge technology to remain competitive on the global stage. The collaboration between Innovaero and Insitu Pacific showcases the potential for local companies to contribute to the nation's defence capabilities.

However, the concerns raised by defence industry insiders regarding funding for urgent innovation programs should not be overlooked. Striking a balance between long-term investments and immediate needs is essential to ensure that the Australian Defence Force remains agile and adaptable in the face of evolving threats. By prioritizing the development and integration of innovative like the Owl, Australia can position itself as a leader in this rapidly evolving field and enhance its ability to protect its interests both at home and abroad.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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