Williams Foundation launches enquiry into drones in Australia

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 24, 2013
With the Triton expected to be ordered by Australia, the Williams Foundation's enquiry into drone use is timely. (Northrop Grumman)

With the rising proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and Australia set to order the Triton, The Williams Foundation is conducting a timely enquiry into the topic: Protecting Australia with Drones: Cheaper? Better? Smarter? Safer?

The enquiry will canvass the broad scope of issues surrounding the deployment of UAVs in civil and military use in the Australian environment, and will look in particular at intelligence surveillance, strike capabilities, ethics, legalities, privacy, the environment, commercial aspects, technology, R&D and people and training.

“There are indications that economic and technological imperatives are driving the use of drones at a pace that’s making it difficult for the legal and ethical dimensions, for example, to keep up,” The Foundation’s Dr Alan Stephens, said. “Presently there’s little debate in Australia. We hope to generate a robust public exchange. Our report will comment on all of those aspects and will make recommendations where appropriate.”

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The Williams Foundation – which is an independent, not-for-profit organisation whose objective is to promote a better understanding of the use of airpower in the national interest, has developed a website containing useful background to the development of UAVS and their deployment as a background to the inquiry.    The site can be found at: https://www.dronepower.org.au

The report and recommendations will be published in October.

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3 Comments

  • Ben

    says:

    An excellent idea. Too much is being put up as this being an alternative too, when it should work in partner with. There is a plethora of information that suggests nothing is better than the mark one eyeball.

  • Darren

    says:

    UAV’s are an excellent force multiplier, they have some unique capabilities and have their place in the Order of Battle, but they are not the be all and end all to manned aircraft. The employment of UAV’s, both military and civilian, needs to be discussed broadly.

  • Maurice Duffill

    says:

    The variety of UAV types leads to confusion when discussions are taking place. An internationally acceptable classification is needed. Types range from the high-flying, long range with weapon carrying capability, down to the minuscule, insect like camera carrying short range beastie. The uses are also endless. I see no ethical problem with the use, for example, of UAVs maintaining continuous surveillance of long coastlines – feeding live pictures to a control centre; however, as soon as weapons are installed, special consideration should be given to the area of operations.

    I wish the Williams Foundation every success in the endeavour to rationalise this fast developing new sphere of very useful aircraft.

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