Australia is deploying Aerosonde Mk III unmanned air vehicles as part of its regional assistance mission in the Solomon Islands, launched last week.

The UAVs will be used for day and night surveillance missions, as well as acting as communications relays for ground-based forces in remote areas of the islands.

This is the first time Aerosondes will be used in an operational military role. The UAVs will be drawn from aircraft used by Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation in its NERVANA tactical UAV experimentation programme.

The Aerosonde deployment marks the second time the Australian Defence Forces have fielded UAVs in military intervention operations within the region in the past two years. Hand-launched Codarra CX-1 Avatars have been used periodically by Australian forces in East Timor since early 2001 as part of continuing security assistance operations.

Source: Flight International