Asian Press Group banner 728x90A new $1.6 million state government funded project will help to boost the Royal Australian Navy’s undersea surveillance capability. The project – Enhancing the RAN’s Undersea Surveillance Minimum Viable Capability – aims to improve operational performance by increasing the accuracy and range of automatic detection, tracking, and localisation of undersea threats.

Defence software firm Acacia Systems have been selected to lead the project funded through the Defence Innovation Partnership’s Activator Fund and run in collaboration with Defence Science and Technology Group. The project is also backed by the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, Curtin University and Defence Science and Technology Group.

The Activator Fund was established in June this year to speed up the translation of innovative defence technology into real world capability for the Australian Defence Force. The Fund enables South Australia to create and participate in larger-scale innovation activities strongly aligned with the most significant challenges facing Defence.

The Defence Strategic Review Undersea highlighted how critical warfare capabilities are,  including long-range sub-surface intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The AUKUS agreement also commits the partner nations to pursue technology sharing in additional undersea capabilities.

Thales Australia are supporting the project via the provision of Sonar data sets from their Bluesentry Autonomous Sonar Payload and Saab Australia their Combat Management System (CMS) development facilities at Mawson Lakes.

Five applications were received under the project theme 1 ‘Remote Undersea Surveillance Data Processing, Analysis and Networking’ with subsequent project themes under the Activator Fund to be announced later.

Chief Defence Scientist Prof Tanya Monro, said “The Defence Innovation Partnership’s Activator Fund demonstrates the harnessing of the national innovation ecosystem to rapidly transition technology developments into operational Defence capabilities. DSTG is leveraging Australia’s best research minds through the Australian Defence Science and Universities Network to solve Defence’s greatest challenges and maintain a superior capability edge for the warfighter.  The undersea surveillance project, led by Acacia, aligns with Defence Innovation, Science and Technology priorities to future-proof the Australian Defence Force in a complex, evolving environment.”

Horden Wiltshire, Chief Executive Officer Acacia Systems, said: “Led by Acacia, the program will bring together world leading researchers from the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and Curtin University with support from DSTG. It will apply the latest research in the areas of multi-object tracking, reinforcement learning and large language models to improve the RAN’s persistent undersea surveillance capability. Saab Australia is providing in-kind support for the project and access to CMS development facilities with Thales providing Sonar data processed through their Bluesentry™ thin line Towed Array System. The use of uncrewed surface vehicles deployed with towed arrays represents an asymmetrical Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability. For example, for the fraction of the cost of ASW frigates, these systems can field a credible capability to detect threat submarines, without risking the lives of sailors in the process.


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