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Photo Essay: Unmanned combat aerial vehicles from around the globe

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Autonomous systems are changing the way the ADF and militaries around the world conduct operations. Supporting combat, humanitarian and intelligence roles, the scope for evolution in these leading-edge capabilities is playing a key role in the development of existing and follow-on systems for Australia and its allies. Defence Connect will highlight some of these capabilities today.

With the news that Iran shot down a US military unmanned surveillance aircraft, an RQ-4A Global Hawk, we have decided to dive into the unmanned aerial aircraft capabilities from around the globe.


The action from Iran has been labelled a "very big mistake" by US President Donald Trump, however he conceded to reporters that the decision could have been made from human error.

Iran claims that the drone violated Iranian airspace, claiming that the RQ-4A was encroaching on their borders and conducting blatant spy missions over the country.

The Global Hawk is just one of the US' fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles, which includes the MQ-1 Predator, the MQ-9 Reaper (which Australia is also purchasing), with capabilities like the MQ-4C Triton also in the pipeline.

Around the globe, 29 countries are known to have operational armed drones.

Scroll through the photo gallery above for imagery of the world's capabilities.

Photo Essay: Unmanned combat aerial vehicles from around the globe
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