Australia well positioned to reap benefits of advances in drone tech

Australia well positioned to reap benefits of advances in drone tech
Lance Bombardier Anthony Dunphy (left) and Bombardier Damien Young prepare to launch a Shadow 200 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) drone from an airfield at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

Australia is ideally positioned to capitalise on the opportunities emerging as part of rapidly increasing adoption of drone technology, according to the president of the Asia-Pacific RPAS Consortium Ron Bartsch.

Speaking to Defence Connect’s Phillip Tarrant, Bartsch described how some of the capabilities drones could offer both to the defence sector and the civilian sphere.

"I know the military have invested heavily in drones and that's going to continue, but ... essentially ... the civilian application of drones and the use of them within a military context as well is something that's going to really expand in the next few years, even on top of what's happened," he said.

"And Australia, by virtue of the fact that we were the first country in the world to have any form of civilian regulations, is at the forefront and ideally positioned to benefit from this, in terms of products and services within the drone sector."

He said that while high-profile companies in countries such as the US and Israel had developed very sophisticated drones purely for use in a military context, in Australia manufacturers were currently developing and building devices at the rate of one drone per week [along with] small jet drones with a wingspan of about two metres.

"That's quite amazing that we've got this technology and this support industry there," said Bartsch.

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