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Tuesday 22 Aug 2017 | 10:32 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: More on drones

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14 November 2011 09:27

Reader Spud writes about uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs):

Thanks for posting COL Shanahan's comments on the ongoing 'Drone Wars'. From my perspective there is another factor, a third player if you will, in this that will also have considerable impact on operations into the future.

There is a strong development approach by UAV manufacturers to exploit the opportunities their platforms offer into the civilian market. Several UAV developers have already begun building and marketing the UAV platform as another tool in the modern journalist's toolbox. Simple relay of live feed has been successful, while options for media agencies to employ their own UAVs with an electro-optical payload and live transmission are rapidly being developed.

While civil airspace deconfliction essentially precludes their domestic use (despite 60 Minutes' rudimentary effort earlier this year; I know it's not really a UAV but the intent was clearly there) it is increasingly recognised that areas of conflict offer greater freedom (although the results of encroachment are probably more final than a fine in the mail).

I imagine that we will get to point where ground commanders will not only have to be cognisant of what parity in semi-persistent and targeted surveillance realm means for them but to also consider the implications of a civilian platform loitering within their area of operations providing a live view of their disposition and actions. Given the impact of released UAV or aircraft full motion video in shaping the narrative, the desire for an 'independent' bird's eye view of the battlefield is clearly there.

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