Personnel from the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) have recently carried out trials with the maritime uncrewed surveillance vessel, called Bluebottle.

Developed by Ocius Technologies, the surveillance vessel was tested for the first time as part of the country’s patrolling mission Operation Resolute.

The trials were held in October around Western Australia’s remote islands off the north coast.

It was executed by a contingent of 18 personnel from the Northwest Mobile Force (NORFORCE) and the 10th Force Support Battalion, in collaboration with the Army’s Regional Force Surveillance Group (RFSG).

Other participants included the 1st Combat Signal Regiment and the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. An Ocius employee was also included in the task unit headquarters.

Maritime Border Command (MBC) Rotation 7 liaison officer Major Alexander Brent said: “In addition to persistent surveillance, we were able to use the Bluebottles to conduct more specific reconnaissance tasks such as beach landing site reconnaissance and avenues of approach to specific islands in advance of the ground force.

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“By controlling the Bluebottles remotely, ground force was free to be able to move independently of the uncrewed surveillance vessels and focus on other tasks, such as onshore reconnaissance and patrolling, while still benefiting from what Bluebottles collected.”

The vessel was used in response to emerging surveillance requirements.

During this two-week deployment, the personnel conducted surveillance and reconnaissance operations in approximately 5,500km² to track foreign fishing vessels and collect evidence of illegal activities.

According to NORFORCE patrol master captain Stephen Sewell, the activity enhanced the situational awareness to monitor illegal activities in the region.

Sewell added: “The soldiers conducted surveillance from observation posts, dismounted patrols across the islands, and patrols in a littoral environment by watercraft.”