New DroneShield base tips R&D capacity past $400m

Brandon How

Counter drone tech manufacturer DroneShield has tripled its manufacturing and R&D capacity through the opening of its new Sydney headquarters.

The new facility in Pyrmont takes DroneShield’s annual manufacturing and R&D capacity to more than $400 million worth of hardware and software per year, according to the local company, which is a growing supplier of European and US Defence markets.

DroneShield on Tuesday said its non-lethal and non-kinetic handheld drone countermeasures will be developed and manufactured at the facility to fulfil orders for “government, defence and commercial customers in 70 countries”, including the Australian Department of Defence, NATO, and US government.

The facility has been funded by the ASX-listed firm’s recent $115 million capital raise. However, $30 million of the raise remains subject to shareholder approval.

The anechoic chamber at the new DroneShield global headquarters. Image: Supplied

The company’s 120 Australian staff will be based at the new 2,000 square metre facility, with the firm already in discussion for additional space. DroneShield expects to increase its engineering and operations teams in the short term by 40 employees to drive development of “fully sovereign, in-house artificial intelligence and machine learning engines and capabilities”.

DroneShield chief executive Oleg Vornik said the company’s equipment takes up to four months to build and can contain hundreds of components that must be manufactured, assembled and quality controlled.

Mr Vornik also flagged a there is a huge global push for counter-drone and counter-UAS capabilities, “predominately from the US, but broadly across Five Eyes and allies, and slowly but surely in Australia”.

“Whether it’s due to the turmoil they can cause on the battlefield, or the countless ways they can disrupt everyday life – at airports, prisons and public events, for example – drone deterrence is now a priority for government agencies and authorities, in Australia and abroad.”

According to DroneShield, it has an order pipeline worth $500 million of which $27 million is currently being fulfilled. The firm has 90 qualified projects ongoing at different stages of development.

This includes being the first company to sign a counter-drone procurement agreement with NATO in April as well as contracts with the US government.

DroneShield has also won contracts with the Australian Department of Defence, most recently through Army Innovation Day 2023 where it competed against 57 industry and academia applicants. Its technology is also being incorporated into the Agile Shield battle management system being delivered by Lockheed Martin to the Australian Department of Defence.

The new headquarters opens after strong revenue growth. The firm recorded $55.1 million revenue last year, representing a 226 per cent increase on the previous year. First quarter revenue this year is up 10 times compared to the previous year.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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