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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Be Deployed to Iraq

Minister for Defence Media Mail List


Thursday 3 November, 2005
176/2005

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Be Deployed to Iraq

Miniature Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will be deployed to Iraq to provide increased protection for Australian Defence Force soldiers and will be a new ally in operational missions in the southern Al Muthanna province.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said four Skylark miniature UAVs will be deployed to assist the second rotation of the Al Muthanna Task Group (AMTG). A further two UAVs will remain in Australia for training and preparation purposes.

"The miniature UAVs will be used on reconnaissance and surveillance missions, and provide real-time information about the terrain and activities in an area," Senator Hill said.

"This will increase our troop's understanding of the Al Muthanna area, and increase their ability to respond to identified threats.

"The UAVs that will deploy with the AMTG are a miniature, lightweight and portable system that is easy to recover and relaunch."

Senator Hill said the Government was investing more and more on research and development of unmanned vehicle technology for use in future operations and for surveillance purposes.

"These new intelligent and largely autonomous systems will in the future be able to carry out hazardous tasks traditionally reserved for warfighters which will reduce exposure and risks to Australian Defence Force personnel," Senator Hill said.

"UAV are an increasingly important part of the modern battlefield, particularly because they increase the troop's ability to detect, respond and remain informed of activities across a wide area.

"This information can then be used to warn our troops and help them avoid potentially dangerous situations.
"The rapid acquisition and deployment of the miniature UAVs is another example of the Government's commitment to supporting our ADF personnel on operations.

"The UAV will complement an already impressive array of equipment including the Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle, Australian Light Armoured vehicle and enhanced combat body armour already supplied to our soldiers in Iraq."

The ADF has conducted extensive testing and evaluation of UAVs, including a successful operational trial of an Australian-designed UAV in the Solomon Islands in 2003.

Still imagery and a low resolution MPEG video of the Skylark UAV can be found at : http://www.defence.gov.au/media/download/2005/nov/20051101s.cfm

ENDS

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