12 Jun 2013

Afghan exhibition at Australian War Memorial

5:43 am on 12 June 2013

Australia's war in Afghanistan is to be documented in a new exhibition at the Australian War Memorial.

War Memorial director Brendan Nelson announced on Tuesday it will open on 6 August.

AAP reports it was put together in a fraction of the time usually needed for such an event featuring artifacts, images and stories from the conflict.

When Dr Nelson took over as director in December, staff advised an exhibition on Afghanistan would take years to prepare.

"My very strong view ... is that we need to present the Afghanistan story and we need to do it now," he said.

"Australians have had some 25,000 deployments to Afghanistan over the course of the last 12 years and many courageous and intense things have been done on our behalf in our name. We owe it to them to tell Australians that story now."

The exhibition will be sponsored by Boeing, which presented a Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle used by Australian troops in Afghanistan and Iraq for the display.

Scan Eagle was the first type of UAV deployed by the Australian Defence Force, a technology now widely used.

AAP reports the aircraft has a wingspan of three metres and was initially developed by a US firm for spotting schools of tuna for fishing boats.

Vision from day and night cameras is beamed back to a base station, allowing extended surveillance in real time.

In ADF service, these proved extraordinarily useful, scanning ahead of patrols, around bases and keeping watch along roads for improvised explosive devices.

Scan Eagle was retired from ADF service in May last year.