Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) provide Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) support for land force operations. The Australian Army currently operates the RQ-7B Shadow 200 in this role.
The SHADOW 200 carries a suite of high resolution cameras above patrolling troops to provide detailed information about activities on the ground. The air vehicle has approximately eight hours endurance, and ground troops are be able to receive footage and data from the air vehicle in real-time using ground terminals. The air vehicles are rail-launched and have a 16' wingspan, a gross weight of 208 kilograms, and are powered by a 29 kilowatt rotary engine.
In the future, the Australian Army is planning to introduce a small single person launched and operated UAV; the Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS). It is intended to provide information to commanders at the Combat Team level and below with enhanced situational awareness through improved reconnaissance and surveillance coverage. It will offer commanders near real-time video and still images with associated metadata by day and night. The SUAS reconnaissance capability has been likened to that of a flying pair of binoculars.