Australia gifts Sri Lanka drones to spot people smuggling

written by Adam Thorn | April 13, 2021

Australia has gifted Sri Lankan police five drones to monitor people smuggling between the two countries.

It’s part of a wider project to help Sri Lanka establish a “drone surveillance capability” that will also conduct natural disaster scene assessments and recovery and transnational crime investigations.

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The commander of Joint Agency Task Force Operation Sovereign Borders, Rear Admiral Mark Hill, said, “Working together, Australia and Sri Lanka send a strong message that people smugglers and potential illegal immigrants considering illegal travel to Australia by boat have zero chance of success.”

AFP Senior Officer Sri Lanka, Rob Wilson, said the drones can identify people smuggling in otherwise hard to access areas and provide assistance for search and rescue operations.

Operation Sovereign Borders is a military border security operation located primarily within the Department of Home Affairs but supported by a range of federal government agencies.

In February, Australian Aviation reported how a RAN robotics team developed a drone prototype that can be autonomously dispatched to record critical incidents and beam the footage back to the ship.

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HMAS Cerberus’ Robotics Club hope its ‘Marine Evolutions Response Vessel’ (MERV) could speed up responses to scenarios such as a man falling overboard, and interrogating trespassing vessels or towing targets for live firing.

The land-based prototype is made from plywood and fibre-glass and propelled by a 3D-printed water-cooled brushless motor, made at the Centre for Innovation at Fleet Base East.

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