Australia reorganizes WWII squadrons to pilot high-tech drones

The Royal Australian Air Force has announced it is recalling its highly regarded air force to operate high-tech unmanned aerial vehicles and monitor northern waters.

First established in 1939, No. 9 Squadron will arrive in Australia in mid-2024 with US-made MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operating alongside P-8A Poseidons to replace APs. take over the operation of -3C Orions.

With a 39.9m Boeing 737 wingspan and up to 24 hours flight capability, this large High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft from Northrop Grumman will be used for real-time maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles at the Avalon Airshow on March 3 Said Australian forces have been training with the US Navy on Triton since November 2022, and are expected to complete by June 2023.

“This will be very useful in terms of monitoring illegal fishing not only in our own waters, but also in the waters of our Pacific neighbors,” said Marles.

famous military unit

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Chief of Air Force Rob Chipman paid tribute to No. 9 Squadron in announcing its rebuilding, noting its history of being involved in some of Australia’s most iconic battles with the Australian Army. He noted that he had flown 237,424 missions. report Australian War Memorial.

No. 9 Squadron operated from 1939 to 1944, but was reorganized in 1962 during the Vietnam War and completed its final mission in November 1971. These included special air unit patrols, evacuation of wounded soldiers, spraying herbicides and insecticides, dropping leaflets, and flying “smell reconnaissance” and “person detection” missions.

The 9th Squadron’s emblem is the Black-browed Albatross, an Australian native bird known for spending long hours flying over water, “the perfect symbol for the perfect squadron to establish the MQ-4 Triton.” It is Air Force Secretary Chipman told reporters.

Australian Flatpack Drone Sent to Ukraine

Meanwhile, cheap Australian drones made of cardboard and rubber bands have been sent to the Ukrainian military as part of a $33 million (US$22.33 million) effort to supply the country with unmanned systems.

Australian owned Shipak Since 2022, the system has supplied Ukraine with about 100 cardboard drones per month. Low-cost drones are designed to deliver goods and equipment to areas hard to reach by traditional logistical capabilities, some of which he has made 60 flights in Ukraine. .

Developed in Melbourne in partnership with the Australian Army and under a $1.1 million (US$740,000) Defense Innovation Hub contract, SYPAQ Systems has developed the Corvo™ Precision Payload Delivery System (PPDS).

PPDS, known as “cardboard planes,” are flat-packed and consist of thick wax-coated cardboard and sturdy rubber bands that secure the wings. It can also fly up to 120 km and land independently.

Ukrainian soldiers use them for a variety of missions, including lethal ones, because PPDS can provide true autonomy and remove the cognitive load from soldiers in operation.

SYPAQ Chief Engineer Ross Osborne said: At the Avalon Air Show.

Defense Minister Richard Marles and Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Miroshnichenko received a direct briefing on the “cardboard plane”, with Miroshnichenko commenting that the drone’s appearance was deceptive.

“When you look at it, it looks like something children would play with,” said Myroshnychenko. report Australian person.

“But when you see what you can do, it’s really amazing.

“From what I’ve heard, they’re good at doing a lot of damage to their enemies.

“The drone team within the MOD[Department of Defense]is very sophisticated people. There is a lot of R&D and innovation going on in that department. I’m one of the teams in

Using Australian innovations within Australia

Cardboard drones sent to Ukraine have been well received, but the Australian Defense Force (ADF) has yet to place an order.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the usefulness of innovation was not directly related to Australia’s current situation.

“Given what Ukraine is facing, this is of great value,” Marles said.

“In the end, it is a matter of assessing our own needs, which are clearly different from those of Ukraine.

Air Force Secretary of the Air Force Rob Chipman said it was important to continue working with the United States through joint development programs to ensure that the MQ-4C drone could be operated effectively once it arrives.

“We think about interoperability when we design and deliver our aircraft, and making sure you get it right the first time is very important to us. so that we can continue our operations,” Chipman said.

Meanwhile, Marles commented that it was important for Australia to strategically expand its defense industry, saying, “The fact that we have technology developed in Australia and it is being used in that theater of war It’s something we should all be proud of, and it will help increase Australia’s strategic importance.”

“And the fact that we are seeing its exports and its utility is making Australia take it more seriously.”