If there's one thing US President Barack Obama will miss when he leaves the White House, it will be his massive drone army. The Coalition Government here in Australia seems to have some hardware envy when it comes to drones, and has renewed a billion-dollar plan to purchase long-range Triton aircraft to patrol Australian and Asian airspace.
The drone up for purchase is the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton, an unmanned aircraft which can fly for 30 hours at a time. The Labor government had flirted with the idea of purchasing drones, and now the current Defence Minister, David Johnston, says that the drones are "exactly" what Australia needs.
Minister Johnston said in an interview with WSJ:
Something that can leave Darwin and do a couple of laps of Sri Lanka and come home again—that is exactly what we need.
It's undeniable that that capacity, up at about 55,000 feet...is right in the place that we need to pay attention to. It's almost a no brainer.
Does that quote terrify anyone else, or is it just me?
The Defence Minister stressed that the drones would be unarmed and meant for surveillance only. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said in the past that Australia would get use out of drones, but the announcement was light on costings and detail. [WSJ]