Aussies are experimenting with the use of Israeli unmanned spy planes against threats at sea, including boatloads of illegal immigrants.
Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus said UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are quiet, virtually undetectable and can maintain extended surveillance of a target areas or vessels for many hours at a time. The trial, which will end in June, will assess the suitability of UAVs to boost surveillance of critical offshore maritime areas.
The aircraft tested is a Heron operated by Israeli Aerospace Industries. It has a wingspan of 16.6 meters, is 8.5m long and has a range of more than 1,800 kilometers. It is packed with the latest location, visual and wireless gear that will enable it to be connected and piloted from a base in Australia.