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Australia Deploys UAVs To Solomons (July 22)

The Australian Defence Force will deploy for the first time on operations four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as part of the regional assistance mission to the Solomon Islands, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.

This is the first deployment of an unmanned aerial vehicle on operations by the Australian Defence Force, Senator Hill said. It represents a significant advance in the development of our network centric warfare capabilities.

Senator Hill said the Australian designed and built Aerosonde aircraft, operated by SAAB Australia, would be equipped with day and night sensors and communications equipment.

They will be capable of conducting surveillance of the Solomon Islands remote areas and coastlines, providing images to military personnel on the ground and headquarters staff.

Incorporating this new technology in the regional assistance will give the ADF an edge in its support to police assisting the Solomon Islands Government to restore law and order, Senator Hill said.

Soldiers and their commanders will have real-time information about potential risks for the police.

The aircraft are part of a developmental program, Project Nervana, being run by the DSTO. The project is looking at many aspects of automating the battlefield. This includes the examination of how images from the UAVs can be distributed to commanders on the ground, providing a real time surveillance capability.

The detachment will be commanded by 131 Surveillance and Target Acquisition (131 STA) Battery which has responsibility for developing Army's UAV procedures.

The UAVs will be operated and supported by Army scientists, engineers and other support personnel as well as Defence Scientists from DSTO.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Deploying to Solomons