Australia: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has revealed that the country will purchase unmanned surveillance drones from the US that will help in border security and commercial interests. The fleet, to be based in Adelaide, would provide the defense force with unprecedented maritime surveillance capabilities, according to Abbott. The drones would also be used to protect energy resources. The drones, which are still being tested by the US navy, can remain airborne for up to 33 hours. The number of drones to be purchased is yet to be determined. "We do need to have a strong defense – national security is as important as economic security when it comes to the good government of our country. Given that Australia has responsibility for something like 11% of the world's oceans, it's very important that we've got a very effective maritime surveillance capability,” said Abbott.
The MQ-4C Triton drones, which are UAVs used for surveillance, can cruise at altitudes up to 55,000 feet. The vehicle's size is comparable to a small aircraft with a wingspan of 40metres (131 feet). In Australia, the drones are to be stationed at Adelaide's air force base. Abbott revealed that the purchase plan would boost South Australia's economy with about Au$100m (USD 90m, £54m) in investments.