Australian Air Force Wants New Spy Drones

As if the new data retention proposals weren't enough to get you breaking out your tin foil hat, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has revealed that it wants to put seven massive surveillance UAV drones into active service by 2019.

A report by the ABC into Australia's drone capability reveals that the RAAF in its latest Defence Capability Plan brought forward the plan to deploy drones into Australian airspace by three years after eight years of um-ing and ah-ing by previous governments and opposition parties.

The drone that the Air Force wants to put into service is the MQ4C Triton from Northrop Grumman -- an aircraft that can fly at a maxiumum speed of over 600kph for a total time of 28 hours. Extrapolating those figures gives you a theoretical total distance covered per flight session of over 15,000 kilometres.

The cost of the nine drones? Between $2 billion and $3 billion. That's about $200 million per drone.

The RAAF says these aircraft will be used in naval exercises. That is, finding asylum seeker boats and patrolling the borders for illegal fishing.

The Triton is certainly a terrifying looking vehicle, one that the US Navy plans to put into service as early as 2015. The ABC reports that the Americans have 68 of them on order, and many of them will be based in Australian-controlled territory. That is, islands off the coast of Western Australia.

I guess that plea from an Australian academic to "stop making killer robots" worked out well, then. [ABC]



    $200m x 9 = 2 to 3 billion?


    $200 million per drone!!?? F22 look cheap compare to these...

    So Defence members benefits drop/scrapped, current service vehicles constantly broken and in urgent need of replacment, H Model capability gone, JSF budget blown. Yeah this is a great Idea (sarcasm). Will this deter the boats from coming over and or help process boat people? Why not buy something useful.

    they're not UCAVs (ie. these drones won't have combat capabilities), so they're hardly killer .

    Standard journalism fail... Can't multiply numbers or tell the difference between surveillance and combat aircraft.

    You say terrifying looking, I say awesome looking - tomayto/tomarto I guess :-)

    With the limited resources we have they need to be employed as accuraetly as possible. This along with the Jindalee Radar, Poseiden's and AWAC's aircraft make that possible.

    Please feel free to hand over your newly born children for Chip tagging, on your way please collect your government food stamps and pop into Not-Lo supermarket on your return to purchase your patented, indigestible, GM, single growth, corn based, meal supplement. Go home, place your 'Meal' into radiation heater unit and turn on 90" Plasma TV for more nightly brain washing of the x-factor/big brother type.....

    It's all over ladies and Gentlemen. There is no freedom. Welcome to Prison Planet Earth -

    'Incarceration with a Smile' :-)

    200million, it seems even the government is not immune from the local supplier US markup.

    @Bob spot on. These drones would only be used to suppress the masses.

    They should buy blimps instead if they're mainly being deployed in the tropics. Longer flight times.

    Bob and Nathan, relax.

    These drones will be hardly different in effect to the already in place Orions that are being retired. They are a bit more efficient at doing what they do because they lose the pilots, thats it. They won't be swarming over our heads anytime soon.

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