First-Ever AUKUS AI and Autonomy Trial Held in UK

Experimental work on the detection and tracking of military targets has been conducted by Australia, the UK, and the US. The AUKUS AI and Autonomy Trial, hosted by the UK, achieved a world-first by co-deploying AI-enabled assets in swarms to detect and track military targets in real-time in a representative environment. The trial resulted in live retraining of in-flight models and the exchange of AI models between AUKUS countries, achieving significant strides in the development of these technologies for Allied military capabilities.

The AUKUS Advanced Capabilities Pillar (Pillar 2) promotes a trilateral program of work that aims to rapidly introduce AI and autonomy technologies into military capabilities while adhering to safe and responsible AI practices. The AUKUS partnership aims to transform how defenses operate, providing strategic advantages needed to defeat current and future threats across the battlefield.

By mutually sharing AI and underlying data, Australian, British, and US militaries will have access to the best AI, reduce duplication of effort, and ensure interoperability. The event was attended by AUKUS Advanced Capabilities Pillar Leader Gen. Rob McGowan (UK), Deputy Chief of Defense Staff (Financial and Military Capabilities), Abraham (Abe) Denmark (US), and Senior Advisor to the AUKUS Secretary of Defense, Hugh Jeffrey (Australia), Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Industry.

The AUKUS AI and Autonomy trial at Salisbury Plain demonstrated that AI algorithms could operate with mission-tailored adaptive capabilities. More than 70 military, civil defense, and industrial contractors participated in the April 2023 exercise, testing UAVs, tanks, armored vehicles, and ground vehicles. The three-country team worked together to develop a joint machine learning (ML) model, apply a test and evaluation process, and fly it on UAVs in different countries.

Background organizations that participated in this study include the UK Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), UK Defense Artificial Intelligence Center (DAIC), US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC), US Office, of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD R&E), and Australian Defense Science and Technology Group (DSTG), and suppliers Blue Bear and Frazer-Nash Consultancy (UK), and Boeing and Insitu (Australia).

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