Oz PM Tony Abbott said the Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicles would be based in Adelaide.
Seven of the US-made drones could be purchased for AUS$3.0 billion, but Abbott is staying mum on how many, when and how much: "These aircraft will patrol Australia's vast ocean approaches, and work closely with other existing and future Defence Force assets to secure our ocean resources, including energy resources off northern Australia, and help to protect our borders. They will provide the Australian Defence Force with unprecedented maritime surveillance capabilities, operating at altitudes up to 16,800m (55,000 feet) over extremely long ranges while remaining airborne for up to 33 hours."
Australia, a close ally of the US, is expected to use the drones to patrol far over the Indian Ocean, which has become one of the world's most vital energy supply routes. They could also be used to detect illegal fishermen and asylum-seekers, who frequently enter Oz waters to the north on rickety boats, usually setting sail from Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
And y'know, digger, for just US$68,000 each, your "close ally" could throw in some Hellfire missiles - that would sort out those 'boat people'...permanently!