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