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UK Hosts Inaugural Aukus AI and Autonomy Trial

The UK has hosted the first AUKUS AI and autonomy trial, with the aim of driving artificial intelligence into military use.

Service personnel, scientists and engineers from the three AUKUS nations (Australia, United Kingdom, United States) combined for the exercise taking place on the Salisbury Plains.

It saw “AI-enabled assets” involved in a collaborative swarm to detect and track military targets – in a representative environment – in real time. For example, detecting and tracking military targets and also retraining vehicles in flight to adapt to changing mission situations.


The UK is committed to collaborating with partners, said the UK Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, Military Capability, Lieutenant General Rob Magowan, to use technological advances to deliver operational advantages, while also “promoting the responsible development and deployment of AI”.

“The AUKUS AI and Autonomy trial in Salisbury Plains demonstrated AI algorithms working in a mission-tailored adaptive capability,” added Hugh Jeffrey, the Australian Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Policy and Industry. “The AUKUS research and operator teams collaborated to develop, test and evaluate joint machine-learning models, and operate our different national platforms on the battlefield.”

“I was impressed to see AI models rapidly updated at the tactical edge to incorporate new targets, which were immediately shared among the three partners to deliver decision advantage and meet changing mission requirements. This cooperation under AUKUS Pillar II will deliver a capability greater than any one country could achieve alone, and this really is the rationale for the AUKUS partnership at work.”

The exercise – which took place in April 2023 – involved 70 military and civilian defence personnel and industry contractors. It was organised by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).


Specifically, the organisations participating in the trial were:

  • UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
  • UK Defence Artificial Intelligence Centre (DAIC)
  • US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
  • US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC)
  • US Office of The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD R&E)
  • Australia Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG)
  • Australian Army
  • UK suppliers: Blue Bear and Frazer-Nash Consultancy
  • Australia suppliers: Boeing and Insitu

Source: Electronics Weekly



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