Australia has commenced operations with the AAI Shadow 200 tactical unmanned aerial system in Afghanistan.
The system will be used to conducted intelligence, surveillance target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR), says Australia’s department of defence.
The system replaces the Insitu ScanEagle, which Australia has used in Afghanistan since 2007, flying approximately 32,000 hours and 6,200 missions in support of the International Security Assistance Force.
“During that time the ScanEagle has made significant contributions to the force protection and situational awareness of the coalition force soldier on the ground,” says chief of joint operations Lieutenant General Power.
“This was an average of 22 hours per day over the four years and 10 month period – a tremendous effort. Approximately 180 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed in support of ScanEagle, with the bulk from 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment. Other contributing units include 16 Air Defence Regiment, Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation, 1st Topographical Survey Squadron and 16 Aviation Brigade,” he adds.
AAI says the aircraft can see targets up to 125 kilometres away, and recognise tactical vehicles from an altitude of 8,000 feet and 3.5km slant, in both day or night. It can provide targeting information in real time.