The Australian Defence Force will deploy four unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Townsville on Monday as part of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands.
This is the first time the ADF will use pilotless aircraft in an operational environment. They will undertake aerial surveillance and reconnaissance missions, providing real-time information to the commander of the Coalition Task Force.
The aircraft, owned by Defence and designed by Australian company Aerosonde, will deploy for five weeks.
The aircraft will be commanded by 131 Surveillance and Target Acquisition (131 STA) Battery which has responsibility for developing Army's UAV procedures. The deployment will also include two scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), imagery specialists, military specialists and Aerosonde staff.
The aircraft are part of the Project NERVANA developmental program. Project NERVANA, run by the Defence Science Technology Organisation, is looking at many aspects of automating the battlefield.
Recent trials in Victoria and the Northern Territory of Aerosonde aircraft have confirmed these long endurance UAVs have the potential for supporting ADF operation.
The Solomons deployment will provide critical data and experience to support the ongoing development of Defence's future UAV programs, such as Army's Tactical UAV program and the Global Hawk system.
Pilotless Aircraft Deploy To Solomon Islands