World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Flying Start to NW Shelf Unmanned Aircraft Trial

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence Media Mail List

PARLSEC 082/2006
Friday 1 September 2006

Flying Start to North West Shelf Unmanned Aircraft Trial

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Senator Sandy Macdonald, today launched a major Defence trial aimed at testing the ability of an unmanned aircraft to perform maritime surveillance in Australia’s North West Shelf.

Senator Macdonald said the trial involves a Mariner Demonstrator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) working with a Royal Australian Navy Armidale Class Patrol Boat, the Joint Offshore Protection Command and the Pilbara Regiment to conduct surveillance and response missions.

A demonstration flight of the UAV has been performed today at RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia, which will act as the control and communications centre while the aircraft is airborne.

“The North West Shelf is of vital strategic and economic importance to Australia and enhancing existing security in this area is a priority for the government. This trial meets an election commitment outlined in our 2004 policy on Securing Australia’s North West Shelf,” he said.

Senator Macdonald said the trial will assess the potential of UAVs to operate under a joint, integrated surveillance capability with the Navy’s Armidale Class Patrol Boats and other assets to provide an additional layer of surveillance in Australia’s northern maritime approaches.

“It is essential to explore new solutions and new technologies to protect this region from criminal activities such as illegal fishing, drug running and people smuggling,” Senator Macdonald said.

The trial is being led by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in collaboration with Navy, Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and other elements of Defence as well as the Joint Offshore Protection Command. US company General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is participating in the trial with a Mariner Demonstrator UAV as the aerial platform.

The UAV will fly four missions over the North West Shelf leaving RAAF Edinburgh on September 4 for Western Australia where it will operate out of RAAF Learmonth and return to South Australia on September 19. Individual sorties will vary between eight hours and more than 16 hours. During each mission the UAV will record the movements of vessels passing through Australian waters and exchange information with the Patrol Boat. Data collected by the UAV will be transmitted to RAAF Edinburgh for analysis.

The aircraft can fly at altitudes between 500 feet and 50,000 feet for as long as 30 hours without re-fuelling.

Senator Macdonald said the GA-ASI UAV had been specially modified for the purposes of the Australian trial. It will carry only sensor and communications equipment suitable for maritime surveillance missions.

As a complementary activity, another US company, Northrop Grumman, will be conducting modelling and simulation work in October, using its Cyber Warfare Integration Network capability.

“Modelling and simulation will enable Defence to assess a range of factors not encountered during the trial flights and to consider how future systems might perform in the Australian environment,” Senator Macdonald said.

“The UAV trial was a valuable exercise for Defence with results from this trial to assist Defence in developing the requirements for phase one of the Air 7000 project. Under this project Defence plans to acquire a long endurance, multi-mission unmanned aerial system.”

Senator Macdonald said information gathered during the trial would also assist the government to consider unmanned aerial systems for future operations under the civilian maritime surveillance program.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news