Aussie front line troops to be protected by drones in new 75 mln USD investment

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-01 14:14:42|Editor: xuxin
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CANBERRA, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Australia's front line troops will soon be under the watchful eye of state-of-the-art backpack-sized drones, in a 101-million-Australian dollar (74.6 million U.S. dollars) investment set to provide soldiers with a "faster and better understanding of the battlefield" than their adversaries.

The U.S.-built drones, called the WASP AE, have a wingspan of one meter and weigh just 1.3 kilograms, and can be neatly packed inside a backpack for the use of front line soldiers.

In a statement detailing the investment on Thursday, Australia's Defence Minister Marise Payne said the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) would give soldiers the capability to "see over the hill, around the corner and down the road," bringing back infrared images of any dangers that may lie ahead.

"Similar systems, including the Skylark, have been used by our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq with tremendous success," Payne said on Thursday.

"They provide our military with a faster and better understanding of the battlefield than our adversaries."

According to Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, the investment would support dozens of additional jobs in the supply chain, as the WASP AE will be modified with Australian content for use by Australian soldiers. He added that "the majority of maintenance and support" will also be carried out in Australia.