AUKUS Partners Make World-Leading Breakthrough in AI Technology

AUKUS Partners Make World-Leading Breakthrough in AI Technology
This undated photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows an unmanned drone used to patrol the U.S.-Canadian border. Local, state and federal agencies ranging from local sheriff's offices to the North Dakota Army National Guard have borrowed unmanned surveillance drones from the Homeland Security Department nearly 700 times in the past three years, according to government records obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

AUKUS partners Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom have announced a global breakthrough in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, with the first live retraining of autonomous systems used on surveillance drone technology.

The AUKUS coalition said that during a trial in Upavon in Wiltshire, UK, the alliance achieved several world-first breakthroughs with jointly made AI technology. This includes live retraining at the edge of models in flight and the interchange and use of AI models on uncrewed aerial vehicles.

"The work saw the initial joint deployment of Australian, UK, and U.S. AI-enabled assets in a collaborative swarm to detect and track military targets in a representative environment in real-time," a media release said. "Accelerating the development of these technologies will have a massive impact on coalition military capability."

The trial was completed under the AUKUS Pact's Pillar II, which is pursuing a trilateral program to accelerate collective knowledge on a tranche of leading-edge technologies and capabilities, to enhance the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.

AUKUS Partners Say Breakthrough Will Provide a Kinetic Advantage

The trilateral partners are currently looking to push these technologies into all three nations' military capabilities to increase their response time to threats.

Lt. Colonel Richard Craig, who participated in the trial, said that while AI has many benefits for the military, this particular trial demonstrated that the coalition could increase the number of sensors able to engage with the enemy.

"So AI and autonomy will give us an operational advantage by increasing our ability to engage enemy forces at range and increasing our survivability."

The UK's Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Financial and Military Capability), General Rob Magowan, noted that the coalition's advances in AI will deliver the three nations' capabilities to defeat both current and future kinetic threats.

“The trial demonstrates the military advantage of AUKUS advanced capabilities, working in coalition to identify, track, and counter potential adversaries from a greater distance,” said Magowan. “Service personnel, scientists, and engineers from our three nations combined to develop and share critical information during operations to enhance commanders’ decision making.”

Meanwhile Abe Denmark, Senior AUKUS Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Defense noted that "the development and deployment of advanced artificial intelligence technologies have the potential to transform the way we approach defense and security challenges."

“We recognize the immense importance of this collaboration in strengthening our combined national security of our nations,” said Denmark. “This capability demonstration is truly a shared effort and is a critical step in our trilateral initiative to stay ahead of emerging threats.”

Deputy Secretary Strategy, Policy and Industry Group, Hugh Jeffrey, said that the trial exemplified the determination of AUKUS partners to rapidly translate disruptive technologies into capability.

“This capability of mission-tailored adaptive AI is going to be able to deliver a capability greater than what any country can do alone,” said Jeffrey. “That really is the rationale for AUKUS.”

“Successful collaboration between AUKUS partners brings us ever closer to understanding how we rapidly field robust and trustworthy AI in complex and contested environments.

“In this trial, we demonstrated that AUKUS can deliver a capability that is greater than what any one country can do alone.”

Australia To Utilise Technology to Maintain Peace and Stability in Indo-Pacific

According to AUKUS, the capability will enable both Australia and the U.S. to maintain "collective multi-domain awareness, operate seamlessly with our allies and partners, and enhance deterrence in the Indo-Pacific."

“We are pooling our expertise and resources through our AUKUS partnerships, ensuring that our militaries are equipped with the latest and most effective tools to defend our nations and uphold stability around the world," said Denmark.

"It demonstrates AUKUS partners’ contribution to a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, complementing our commitment to ASEAN and regional-led security architecture," said the Australian department of defence.

Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.