The Government has launched a new Defence Science and Technology (DST) strategy, with eight priority research areas to better engage defence scientists, industry, research institutions, and international partners to deal with big problems.
The list is headed by development of resilient global communications, positioning, and geospatial intelligence capabilities direct to Defence users. These would be enabled by a constellation of smart satellites in low earth orbit, all-new for the ADF and one which aligns with a growing national space capability.
The Strategy, entitled More, together: Defence Science and Technology Strategy 2030 calls these eight priority areas STaR Shots (Science, Technology and Research Shots), with the aim of concentrating strategic research efforts on a smaller number of specific and challenging problems.
“An ambitious schedule will be set, with the aim of demonstrating leap-ahead capability within 10 years,” the strategy says.
The eight STaR Shots are:
- Information warfare to deliver blended awareness and resilient effects across the human, information and physical realms through a contested information environment.
- Agile command and control to develop a capability edge at all levels to understand, shape and dominate the future multi-domain battlespace.
- Assured position, navigation and timing in a contested environment.
- To deliver emerging and disruptive weapon capabilities for multi-domain combat in highly contested environments.
- Enabling the joint force to operate safely and effectively in contested chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threat environments.
- Develop battle ready platforms through next generation data analytics and digital twin systems to guarantee platform availability and capability.
- Remote undersea surveillance through development of above and below water sensors, information processing, communication and data fusion for remote surveillance over Australia’s area of maritime responsibility.
The Strategy says these represent the most challenging, high-impact capabilities which are best solved through science and technology. Each is aligned to future force structure priorities and each has been endorsed by at least one three-star sponsor.
“Importantly, each STaR Shot will be established with a developed path for introduction into service,” it says.
Launching the Strategy, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said research and development was at the core of cutting edge military capability, generated by a strong local industry. She said the Covid-19 crisis had made us acutely aware of the inter-dependence of a sovereign nation and its industrial sector.
“In the years ahead Australia must continue to develop its defence sovereign capabilities and also its industries,” she said in an online video. “I am committed to maximising the involvement of our nation’s defence industry and science and technology research sectors to deliver next generation capabilities for our Australian Defence Force.”
Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro said Australia’s universities, industry and publicly funded research agencies did world class research and were leaders in many areas.
“But today a lot of that work is bottom-up. What we seek to do is have missions that really create a degree of focus and a greater alignment of that wonderful national capability with Australia’s biggest problems,” she said.