Australia is looking to manufacture its own military drones as experts predict most fighting in war will be done by machines in the next 50 years.
Defence force officials told an industry event in Adelaide this week that they wanted to partner with Australian businesses to build the unmanned aerial machines that can be so small they can fit in a soldier's backpack, Fairfax Media reports.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the army's aviation program director Colonel Andrew Jones told the military gathering that it was the first step in creating what's termed "sovereign" drone technology.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne reportedly indicated at the conference that drones would be a priority for the government's $640 million Defence Innovation Hub.
Drones are typically used to attack enemies from the sky and have been extensively used in the fight against Islamic State.
The signal that Australia is getting into the weaponised tech comes after the American military recently revealed a shortage of air force pilots to man drones in the fight against IS and other terror groups.
The lengthy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have forced the Pentagon to rely on contractors to fly drones https://t.co/9xn5exfc7l— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) September 6, 2016
The shortage has led the Pentagon to rely more on private contractors for sorties in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the New York Times.