Photos: Customs' unmanned border spy plane

Photos: Customs' unmanned border spy plane

Summary: Customs has been trialling a spy plane to patrol Australia's borders, flying surveillance low and slow to get into the dirty details of shipping.

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  • The satellite communications unit is housed in the mushroom-like form on the top, with the pot belly underneath containing the radar. Communications gear is kept in the nose.

    Credit: Australian Customs Service
  • The aircraft sends its footage and radar information to the command centre in Weipa, where the aircraft is controlled from. It is a temporary structure, having also been transported in a container.

    Credit: Australian Customs Service
  • The UAV is able to identify the size of ships using its radar. For ships over 300 gross tonnes, it picks up other information using their automatic identification system, which vessels of that size have to operate. Its speed can get as low as 65 knots, allowing it to get close shots of ships and their crew.

    Credit: Australian Customs Service

Topics: Government AU, Emerging Tech, Privacy, Travel Tech

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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