Grollo Aerospace


PROJECT NAME: Supersonic Airborne Targets

Brief Introduction:

The modern warship is equipped with close-in weapon system (CIWS). CIWS are used for defence against inbound threats such as missiles and enemy aircraft.

However, currently there are realistically  no cost-effective methods to test shipboard CIWS and train crews in the operation of these systems. The only system currently available to the Western World is the US’s Coyote target missile, which costs in excess of USD 3.5 million per firing.

In 2013 Grollo Aerospace approached aadi Defence to discuss potential markets and development funds to develop a solution for this problem using their developmental supersonic jet engine technology.

Grollo Aerospace was founded in 2007 and primarily design and manufacture propulsion systems for use in unmanned aerial vehicles. Their core interests are in the miniaturisation of aerospace technology.

Client: Grollo Aerospace Group


  1. Investigate if a sound business case exists for the development of a low cost supersonic target drone for testing and training CIWS equipment and crew.
  2. Evaluate the viability of the developmental engine developed by Grollo Aerospace
  3. Define the stakeholders involved and end user needs
  4. If supported by the business case, develop the needed strategies to source funding from the Commonwealth of Australia to support the development of the low cost supersonic target drone

Our Specialist Team:

Dr Bill Schofield: Lead

Dr Bill Schofield has the ability to accurately connect operational requirements with relevant technologies. The success of this technology requires close collaboration with both the operational and research arms of Defence. Dr Schofield is held in high regard with the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) and has the technical background in aerodynamics and military operations to support his credibility and technical credentials.

VADM David Shackleton:

VADM David Shackleton is a former Chief of Navy and remains actively involved in naval matters, he is both current on naval operational tactics and keenly aware of capability gaps.

David was the main author on worldwide capabilities in this area.

AirDRE Noel Schmidt:

AirDRE Noel Schmidt is an expert in aircraft worthiness and failures; he currently serves on a number of RAAF (royal Australian Air Force) airworthiness boards. An airborne supersonic target system will require technical approval by the current Director General Technical Airworthiness. It is imperative to have the right guidance throughout the process at throughout the various development stages to ensure approval requirements are made. Noel is the specialist for this role

Phase One:
Foundation for project formed through capabilities study.

Phase Two:
Engaged all relevant departments that have an interest in supersonic Aerial targets.

Developed the business case for the Grollo Executive Board to make informed decisions on the future of this project

Developed the CTD submission, as well as socializing the concept within Defence to gain key stakeholder support, involving an extensive iterative consultation process that allowed the stakeholders to help shape the outcome to better address their requirements.

The departments that we continue to collaborate with and value in our workshops to pursue the best possible outcome for the Supersonic Airborne Targets project are listed below:

Defence Science and Technology Office:

  • Aerospace Division
  • Weapons Division
  • CTD Office
  • Chief Defence Scientist’s office

Department of Defence:

  • Head Capability Systems, Australian Defence Force
  • Head Engineering, Royal Australian Navy
  • Key Authors of the Joint Head Force Structure Review
  • Senior management of Defence Material Organisation.

The participation of the above key defence stakeholders is an extensive and ongoing effort that continues to add value to the progress and ultimately the success of this project.

The Outcome:

First Objective:
A thorough report on worldwide capabilities was delivered by aadi Defence resulting in aadi Defence teaming with Grollo Aeronautical to pursue funding to further develop a supersonic airborne target based on the Grollo supersonic jet technology.

Second Objective:
Full support from DSTO, with Divisions of DSTO providing

  • letters of agreement to collaborate on development
  • granting Grollo Aerospace access to their test equipment and laboratories as part of the collaboration

Letter of support from RAN.

Letter of support from 3 Star General in Capability Development, DoD.

The proposal for the CTD program has been submitted and is under review (as of Sept 2015).