The South Coast may become the manufacturing hub for a fleet of high-tech drones for the Australian Army.
Four aviation companies, lead by Raytheon Australia, have teamed up to manufacture tactical unmanned aerial systems (TUAS) for the army.
If the defence contract is awarded to Raytheon, Schiebel Pacific, Air Affairs Australia and Innovation Composites the companies will be producing Schiebel's CAMCOPTER S-100 out of the Albatross Aviation Technology Park in Nowra.
Schiebel already has a contract with the Royal Australian Navy, which operates several S-100 drones out of 822X Squadron.
Raytheon Australia said approximately 20 new roles would be dedicated to the manufacture and sustainment of the S-100 TUAS.
Raytheon expects it will see $50 million injected into the Shoalhaven's economy over the life of the program.
"The development of this regional TUAS sustainment hub will generate even more growth and jobs for the Shoalhaven region," Raytheon Australia managing director Michael Ward said.
"We will work with local suppliers to foster genuine Australian industrial sovereignty, prioritising Defence's operational needs."
Schiebel Pacific general manager Andrew Watson said the company was confident the demand for its S-100 will continuously grow.
The S-100 boasts a number of features.
"The S-100 is a proven and reliable TUAS for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions," Mr Watson said.
"With its small footprint and ability to operate from confined areas, it needs no prepared area or supporting equipment for take-off and landing and it can be set up and ready in 20 minutes.
"The S-100 operates day and night for up to 10 hours."
It is expected that an announcement on the preferred tactical unmanned aircraft system will be made late 2020, early 2021.