Do the Australian Federal Police have unmanned aerial surveillance planes that they're not yet ready to admit to owning?
After the Australian Federal Police issued a press release explaining, or boasting, that an 'AFP plane' found a missing Victorian government minister in remote wilderness, under heavy cloud cover - he was using a flashlight inside his emergency tent - they quickly changed their minds, removed all references to aerial vehicles they officially do not own or operate in the press release and contacted Australian media to demand they not report what their own media department had told reporters barely an hour before.
The Herald Sun digs deeper :
In a statement released this afternoon, the AFP said they "provided aerial support" to Victoria Police with their search operation and "routinely lease aircraft to support operational activity across the country".The spy plane revelation - posted on the Victoria Police media website yesterday - was a breach of national security.
"This capability has been utilised previously in a search capacity," the statement read.
The last word from the Australian Federal Police on this issue :
"No further comment will be made in relation to the deployment of any operational assets of the AFP."How soon before the Australian Federal Police get UAVs not just equipped with extremely sensitive heat-sensing/thermal imaging capability, but also weapons?
You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to assume that UAV makers have already pitched their vehicles, and given demos, to the Australian Federal Police. Along with Israel, Australian companies have had enormous success selling UAVs to both armies and police forces across the world.
The question is how many did the AFP buy? And were those purchases part of a black (off the books) budget?
The Australian Federal Police recently took part in 'urban operations' training during Operation Talisman Saber war games held in Queensland. As part of the military exercises, unmanned aerial vehicles from the 20 Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment were also used, according to the Defence Department's own website.