12:21 GMT29 October 2020
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    Australian air force pilots are being trained to operate US-made armed drones, days after Washington said that it would permit the sale of drones to its allies.

    The Australian government said on Monday that the country's air force personnel are being trained to use the US MQ-9 "Reaper" drone, according to media reports.

    "It would be remiss of Australia not to continue to develop our knowledge of this technology to ensure we are able to gain the greatest benefit from unmanned aerial systems and the best protection for our troops on future operations," Australian Parliamentary Secretary to the Defense Minister Darren Chester said.

    "Unmanned aerial systems are an advancing technology with a proven record of providing 'eyes in the sky' in the Middle East region," he added.

    He declined to say whether the Australian government would buy Reaper drones or how it planned to use unmanned aerial vehicles in a way that they could operate from Australian territories in the Indian Ocean, or if Indonesia and strategic trade routes around the Malacca Strait would be within their range.

    Last week, US officials said that they will allow the sale of drones to its military allies, which Washington said should assure the US that they would use drones for legal goals and comply with international humanitarian laws.

    A close US ally, Australia had committed to buying the US Navy’s MQ-4C Northrop Grumman-made Triton unmanned aircraft earlier, together with eight Boeing P-8A Poseidon long-range spy planes.

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    Tags:
    troops, drone, government, protection, technology, MQ-9 Reaper, Australia
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