BAE Systems Australia has announced that its ambitious long-range drone called STRIX has successfully passed critical design review.
Featuring a modular design, the drone can fit in a standard shipping container and carry up to 160 kilograms (353 pounds) of payload.
It is also capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), eliminating the need for long runaways.
Company officials told Breaking Defense that some key elements of the platform had been modified before it reached the new milestone. However, they provided no further details.
Despite being slightly behind schedule, BAE Systems Australia said a fully operational system can be expected in 2026.
Named after an owl species, the STRIX is a hybrid, tandem-wing unmanned aerial vehicle that can function as a weapons platform or an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platform.
It can be controlled from a ground station or even a helicopter using the company’s STRIX Vehicle Management System.
The drone is also capable of operating in high-risk environments, with a recorded operational range of 800 kilometers (500 miles).
“STRIX leverages existing, proven technologies to provide an affordable and cost-effective capability that is mission configurable and upgradable in response to emerging technologies or threats,” BAE Systems Australia chief executive Ben Hudson said.