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Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) play an important role in maritime security missions, especially in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. One of the countries that has decided to enhance its capabilities in this field is Australia. 

Currently, its Navy is equipped with Camcopter 100 and ScanEagle UAS. The Government of Australia will invest up to A$1.3bn ($930m) in a new Maritime UAS development program designed to improve situational awareness across the country’s 25,780km-long coastline and support maritime surveillance capabilities.

The Australian Defence Force aims to acquire unmanned air vehicles that will provide reconnaissance support and improve the response options of Royal Australian Navy ships.

Such air vehicles will weigh between 25kg and 300kg, according to naval-technology.com.

Australian Minister for Defense Linda Reynolds said: “Now, more than ever, defense requires an agile acquisition strategy to take advantage of state-of-the-art technology. This acquisition heralds a new intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting capability for Defense to ensure Australia keeps pace in this rapidly developing technology domain.” “Developing sovereign industrial capability through projects like this is critical to enhancing Australia’s industrial base and maritime security.” 

Additionally, Australia will implement a five yearly investment cycle to upgrade the Maritime UAS capability starting 2024.