BLUF

When combined with other capabilities, High-altitude platform stations (HAPS) could provide Australia with a strategic advantage across its region.

Summary

Australia is involved in testing High Altitude Platform Systems ( HAPS): Airbus committed to Kimberley drone trials.  HAPS is defined in The Journal of Aerospace Sep 2016 as:
 
  'aircraft, usually unmanned, airships or airplanes positioned above 20 km, in the stratosphere, in order to compose a telecommunications network or perform remote sensing'.
 
See a video clip of a HAPS being launched:  Zephyr Pioneering the Stratosphere.
 
HAPS being radio stations that operate in the stratosphere can provide, among other things, wireless connections to isolated areas. In a Jan 2021 ASPI article US considering Australian-designed light amphibious warship,  US Navy engineer and pilot  Evan Karick  makes the following points regarding HAPS:
  • Can provide support for military operations while remaining in international airspace.
  • Australian involvement could result in a cooperative Australian-US-UK imagery program.
  • Remain aloft for weeks or months at a time.
  • Report on bushfires, farming, and fisheries. 
Consider how the ADF might use HAPS.