Leading radiopharmaceutical manufacturer Cyclotek (Aust) Pty Ltd has joined forces with eVTOL industry front-runner V-Star Powered Lift Aviation Pty Ltd to make the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) theory a reality in Australia. They have commenced a project to deliver several outcomes in developing a large civil, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in Australia.
During the Advanced Air Mobility Summit 2023, hosted by the Australian Association for Uncrewed Systems (AAUS) in Melbourne, Cyclotek’s CEO Greg Santamaria met with Tony Laws, CEO and co-founder of V-Star, to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) towards the delivery of an advanced freight mobility strategy for increased regional connectivity and improved regional supply of crucial medical cargo. Tony, who presented at the summit, spoke of the Asian Pacific Region (APAC), which will have an enormous commercial benefit to Australia, as estimates show the potential for 49% of the global AAM revenue to be in this region by 2050.
Tony Laws presenting at the 2023 AAUS AAM Summit in Melbourne (Source: Greg Tyrrell, AAUS)
Through Swiss aviation company Dufour Aerospace, V-Star has accessed a fleet of next-generation Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) UAVs, the Aero2. The Aero2 has a 6.15m wingspan and weighs 205kg, which places it in the heavy UAV category. It is an incredibly versatile aircraft that takes off vertically and tilts its wing horizontally to achieve efficient, fast, winged flight, which is fit-for-purpose for the delivery of Cyclotek’s medical products. The innovative fuel to payload ratio provides the Aero2 with a range of over 1000km and an eight-hour flight time with a 20kg payload, which grants Cyclotek the genuine capability to deliver its time-dependent products to regional hospitals and imaging centres. Aero2’s Hybrid-Electric power system, with multiple redundancies and safety features, ensures the safe and timely delivery of Cyclotek’s products. Dufour describes Aero2 as the “Swiss Army Knife of UAVs” as it has many applications.
Cyclotek’s CEO Greg Santamaria says, “Innovation and taking on new technology differentiates Cyclotek in its manufacturing and supply strategies. Companies must invest in R&D to modernise their platforms to capture global opportunities for all Australian and New Zealand patients, in major cities and regionally.”
Australia will provide valuable information for the manufacturer Dufour in its certification program in Europe and globally. This project will offer several Australian companies work and training in developing sovereign infrastructure, regulations, engineering, and operation of large UAVs.
Tony Laws (left), CEO of V-Star, and Greg Santamaria (right), CEO of Cyclotek, shake after signing MOU (Source: Cyclotek)
Cyclotek’s Logistics Manager, Daniel Chaston, a licensed commercial pilot, Lachlan Santamaria, Division of Innovation, and Samuel Graf, Research and Policy Officer, will lead their participation in the project. As part of the project, Cyclotek will develop a new Type A package specifically designed for the cargo bay of the Aero2. The project will culminate in a live trial of the aircraft delivering transport capability to three regional imaging centres in VIC, TAS, and NSW.
Cyclotek Team and Tony Laws, Left to Right: Lachlan Santamaria, Daniel Chaston, Sam Graf, Tony Laws and Greg Santamaria (Source: Cyclotek)
The project’s $2.6M cost will be jointly funded by V-Star and Cyclotek, who have also applied for the federal government’s Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships (EATP) Program Round 2 grant. The Victorian Government recently announced the delivery of four new regional PET/CT cameras in Warrnambool, Shepparton, Ballarat, and Wangaratta as part of a $44 million investment. Tony stated, “As a rural Australian, it is exciting to work with Cyclotek in this innovative space to bring our reliable, safe and affordable UAV solution to Cyclotek and their customers, ultimately bettering patient access.
Aero2s in Cyclotek (left) and V-Star (right) Livery in a rural setting (Source: V-Star Powered Lift Aviation)