from the June 2008 issue

UAV tested for patrols over northern water

Border protection authorities have been trialling an unmanned aerial vehicle over Australia's northern waters Customs and Border Protection Command will use a six-week trial of the Israeli-made aircraft to assess its technology for use in helping combat quarantine and border threats, illegal foreign fishing and prohibited activities around marine sites

The Heron model, operated by Israel Aerospace Industries, measures 8 5m long, has a wingspan of 16 6m and a range of 1800km

The latest trial follows successful flyovers of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Torres Strait and the Great Barrier Reef, Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus said

"UAVs are quiet, virtually undetectable and can maintain extended surveillance of a target area or vessel for many hours at a time. Video, photographs, live radar and vessel information will be transmitted from the aircraft to a station in Weipa and forwarded to the BPC national surveillance centre in Canberra

The data will be shared with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

"Piloted aircraft, helicopters and satellite technology are already available to help protect our borders and are in round-the-clock use by the command," Mr Debus said.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report June 2008

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