By virtue of their unmanned status, Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles Ws) have the potential to revolutionise contemporary concepts on air power. Not only does the absence of aircrew enable them to firther exploit the characteristic strengths of air power, but it also underpins the UAV's ability to significantly reduce the perceived limitations of air power. Removal of aircrew and their support systems means UAVs are capable of operating to the edge of the aircraft's operational envelope; with endurances, altitudes and G-forces beyond the normal physiological tolerance of aircrew. UAVs demonstrate the potential to fly longer, higher and faster without endaneerin-g lives. In short. UAVs have the ~otentialto take and to hold the 'virtual high ground'. Furthermore, they promise better cost-effectiveness and greater utility than manned aircraft for 'dirty, dull and dangerous' mission profiles.
For these reasons, UAVs have gained increased popularity in recent times and are being incorporated into defence forces worldwide. Their potential application to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been referred to in a number of key policy documents such as Australia's Sfraregic Policy, the 1997 Strategic Review. In addition, UAVs are currentlybeing examined as options in Project Warrendi, which seeks an airborne surveillancecapability to support ADF land operations. Indeed, the ADF has had a long association with UAVs through its indigenous development and operation of the Jindavick target drone for the Royal Australian Navy. Despite these activities, however, little analysis has been undertaken on the application of UAVs to the Australian scenario generally, with even less emphasis being given to the challenges to their introduction and exploitation.