Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Australian Fast UAV Carrier with Onboard Additive Manufacturing of Aircraft

Fast UAV Carrier.
Artists impression by
Tom Worthington CC-BY 2021
The Australian Government is reported to be considering investing billions of dollars in a complex guided weapons manufacturing  sovereign capability. However, just having a local subsidiary of an offshore company build an imported product under licence is not a real sovereign capability (as was shown by billions wasted on subsidizing foreign car companies to manufacture in Australia).

Any scheme has to have a strong investment in local capability. I suggest Australia should invest in new technological capabilities, for example, being able to rapidly manufacture custom guided weapons and UAVs for a particular mission. This could include the capability to do this aboard ship and on land at forward bases.

As an example, imagine a miniature aircraft carrier build by one of Australia's multi-hull fast ferry shipyards, with a flight deck for launching UAVs and a factory below to 3D print the jet engines, fuselages and avionics for them. Rather than a commander to have to wait weeks, or years for new weapons to be delivered, they would be manufactured on-board in a few hours, custom designed for the next mission.