It looks like it’s straight out of a science fiction movie, but the latest modern warfare technology is very real and on display at one of the world’s largest arms fairs.
In amongst the helicopters, tanks and armoured personnel carriers on display at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) in London is a small underwater drone designed to look like an octopus.
Chief Executive of Melbourne-based producer Defendtex, Travis Reddy, told 9News the drone is designed to operate in an underwater swarm, while acting like a sea creature to avoid detection by enemy equipment.
“They swim,” he said.
“They act like a biological so for all intents and purposes they’re in there with the other animals in the ocean.
“Most systems ignore the animals in the ocean, so you’re trying to hide in plain sight.”
Defendtex is one of more than 60 Australian companies taking part in the global military showcase, which is expected to attract more than 35,000 people from more than 50 countries.
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price is leading the delegation and said it was an honour to be showcasing the work of Australian industry.
“Good old-fashioned Aussie ingenuity that people can actually take back for their own defence capability,” she said.
But not everyone in London is happy about having so much potentially lethal technology on display.
London Mayor Sadiq Kahn has described the event as “abhorrent”.
He’s vowed to do everything in his power to prevent it from being held in the British capital again.
Security at the venue is tight, with numerous checkpoints and a strong police presence keeping a constant eye on protesters, who tried to disrupt preparations and made their presence known outside entries to the exhibition halls.
The event is being supported by the UK government, and Australian exhibitors say new technology has the potential to reduce casualties of war by allowing for better attack accuracy and reducing the need for soldiers to put themselves directly in harm’s way.