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AUKUS Partnership Tackles Electromagnetic Warfare

The important agreement is advancing emerging technologies needed by the militaries.


The powerful AUKUS trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States is pursuing electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) technologies for targeting applications and solutions to protect against adversarial electromagnetic-targeting capabilities, the Department of Defense announced on March 26.


The AUKUS partnership is most known for the initial effort to field Australia with a nuclear-powered submarine. The country wants to replace its cadre of 30-year-old, Australian-built, Collins-class, diesel-electric submarines currently in operation. The partnership, however, was always about more than just high-tech submarines for operations in the Indo-Pacific region. It is about advancing a whole slew of emerging technologies critical to the near-peer fight.  


In the latest effort under the so-called AUKUS Pillar II effort, technology accelerators of the three countries will run synchronized industry competitions for EMS solutions. The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is hosting the first trilateral prize challenge, where three synchronized competitions hosted by the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator in Australia, Defence and Security Accelerator in the UK and the DIU will see EMS innovation.


"There is enormous potential in collaborating with our allies and partners, and our AUKUS electromagnetic warfare challenge is an example of this," said DIU Director Doug Beck in the statement. "A strong international community of defense innovation entities can help nurture and harness these new capabilities."


“The trilateral problem statement calls for capabilities that will allow us to leverage EMS technologies for both offensive and defensive purposes. The EMS presents a congested and competitive environment, with new technologies and solution sets that have the potential to provide asymmetric advantages for AUKUS and other partners,” Beck noted.

Specifically, the challenge is looking for capabilities that can find, fix, track, target, engage and assess.

  • Find: Identification of targets using the EMS.
  • Fix: Location of targets via the EMS.
  • Track: Monitoring of target movement using the EMS.
  • Target: Selection and application of EMS assets and enabled weapon systems.
  • Engage: Application of EMS assets and enabled weapons.
  • Assess: Evaluation of attack effects using the EMS.


According to the DIU, a team of subject matter experts will evaluate applicants and select winning companies from the three countries in July 2024.


“Through AUKUS Pillar II, the Department of Defense is bolstering national, regional, and global stability and security by enhancing the capabilities that warfighters need to respond to current and future threats,” a Department of Defense statement said. “AUKUS allows the DoD to coordinate information and technology with its international partners to deliver critical capabilities quickly while integrating and strengthening the United States, United Kingdom and Australian defense industrial base and supply chains.”



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