Thursday 31 May 2012

Australia to get killer drone technology

Australia inches closer to getting killer drones
THE door to Australia acquiring America's latest and most deadly unmanned armed vehicle - the Reaper hunter-killer drone - has been opened a crack further, following revelations the US has agreed to sell the technology to Italy

26 April, 2012

The announcement comes only a day after Defence chiefs confirmed they were examining the future applications of armed drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, as part of a force structure review. ''I wouldn't discount the fact that we might have armed UAVs, thinking through our force structure review into the future,'' Defence Chief General David Hurley told a Senate estimates hearing.

When Greens Senator Scott Ludlam queried how advanced the thinking was, the vice Defence chief, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, replied: ''We haven't got that far in the force structure review at the moment, but it's one of the options that's out there for a future force.''

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that the administration of US President Barack Obama has confidentially notified Congress of a plan to provide equipment to Italy to allow them to arm up to six Reaper drones.

That makes it more likely the US would provide the technology and equipment for armed Reapers to other allies, including Australia.

However, the chair of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, criticised the planned Italian sale, saying American cutting-edge high technology should not be shared.

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