Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): Timor-Leste

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): Timor-Leste


After the Australian Army deploying and testing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Solomon Islands in August 2003, these pilotless surveillance aircraft were used in Timor in an operational environment. The use of UAVs were highlighted when one crashed into a house in Dili in May 2007.

The results of operations in Timor and Solomon Islands were the basis of an expanded program, with the deployment to Iraq of UAVs purchased from Israel by the ADF.

The 131st Surveillance and Target Aquisition (STA) Battery, after service in Timor and Solomons, is being integrated into the 20th STA.

Government sources

UAV accident in Dili, Department of Defence website, 10 May 2007.

“An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) used as part of normal security operations had a forced landing in Dili on 3 May 2007 due to technical faults. The UAV hit the side of a house during the landing and no one was injured. ISF engineers visited the area and assessed the damage in order to make appropriate repairs to the house. The area was repaired with a yellow translucent plastic panel, allowing light into the house and providing a better environment for the residents. “

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Warrant Officer Class 2 Richard Anderson of the UAV Department in Timor Leste

“Warrant Officer Class 2 Richard Andersen, the Sergeant Major of the UAV Department in Timor Leste, holds an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) identical to the one involved in the incident.” (Source: Department of Defence)

Radars on location, Lt. Simone Heyer, Army Newspaper, June 2005

“131 STA Bty recent deployments – Targeting and surveillance troops in East Timor, 1999-2002.”


Commentary and analysis


The Lessons of 2006 – Army operations in East Timor and Solomon Islands, Colonel John Hutcheson, Australian Army Journal, vol IV, no. 2, p.93 – 106.

“The deployment of tier-one UAVs to East Timor has enhanced the situational awareness of the Force Commander.”

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