131 Surveillance and Target Acquisition Battery
The 131 Surveillance and Target Acquisition (131 STA) Battery has responsibility for developing the Australian Army’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program. Under Project Nervana, being run by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), the ADF is looking at many aspects of automating the battlefield. This includes the examination of how images from the UAVs can be distributed to commanders on the ground, providing a real time surveillance capability.
The 131 STA unit has used surveillance and targeting equipment in a number of recent overseas deployments, including:
- Targeting and surveillance troops to East Timor, 1999-2002.
- The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) section to Solomon Islands in 2003, under Operation Anode
- Weapon locating radar with the Australian Middle East Task group in Iraq, 2005.
In November 2005, the ADF announced that it would deploy UAVs to Iraq, after their first operational trials in Solomon Islands in 2003.
Radars on location, Lt. Simone Heyer, Army Magazine, June 2005
“The deployment [of the Weapon Locating Radar] to Iraq follows deployments to East Timor and the Solomon Islands in recent years. Major Marshall said the deployment to the Solomon Islands allowed the battery’s staff to use the UAV capability it had had since 1999. Locators worked with DSTO, the Air Force and specialists from Aerosonde, the UAV’s designers. He said that the UAV capability was another step in the generation of a surveillance capability.”