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Australia to buy fleet of giant US drones

 
 
 
 
 
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Australia has announced plans to buy a fleet of giant US drones to help patrol the nation’s borders, monitoring energy infrastructure and attempts to enter the country illegally.

On Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicles would be based in the southern city of Adelaide, AFP reported.

“These aircraft will patrol Australia’s vast ocean approaches, and work closely with other existing and future Australian Defense Force assets to secure our ocean resources, including energy resources off northern Australia, and help to protect our borders,” he said.

“They will provide the Australian Defense Force with unprecedented maritime surveillance capabilities, operating at altitudes up to 55,000 feet (16,800 meters) over extremely long ranges while remaining airborne for up to 33 hours.”

The aircraft could be used to detect invading asylum-seekers, who frequently enter Australian waters illegally to the north on boat, usually setting sail from Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Under the ongoing Operation Sovereign Borders policy, Australia’s military is turning back asylum-seeker boats in a move that has angered Indonesia for refusing its illegal boats.

Stopping the asylum-seeker boats arriving in Australia’s north has been a key policy of Abbott’s government since he came to power last year.

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