No predators for NZ soldiers

The illustration from the NZDF submission - showing drones.
The illustration from the NZDF submission - showing drones.

New Zealand's military is not about to get killer drones despite including a couple of them in an illustration in a submission to Parliament.

Instead the military is likely to go no further than a handheld unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of taking very good video and transmitting it live.

The NZDF recently made submissions to Parliament's foreign affairs and defence select committee and included a stylised drawing of where they saw themselves in the decade ahead.

Leading the charge over the Pacific Ocean were two Predator drones which cost around US$4 million ($5 million) a piece and can be armed with missiles.

On Friday, for example, US drones killed 12 militants in Pakistan. US President Barrack Obama is known to personally confirm all drone kill orders.

The NZDF, asked to explain the illustration, said they are still working out where drones "might fit in the mix of technology available.

"It seems certain that UAV will be considered; in particular as we decide on how best to deliver the maritime surveillance needs of New Zealand into the future."

The navy has looked at how to use them.

The armed is trialling Kahu (hawk).

A hand launched drone provides video and still imagery to forces.

Army News last year reported that Kahu had become invaluable for helping protect soldiers on the ground as well as gaining intelligence in the battle area.

They've flown it regularly in the brutal weather of the Waiouru Training Area although add that persistent rain, low cloud and winds of over 60km/hr "still represent inoperable conditions".

The army has also developed a bungee launch system for Kahu so that it can get off the ground in low wind. They are also looking at cameras which have a 360 degree viewing capability.