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AUKUS members eye development of joint electronic warfare capabilities

EW officers monitor a simulated test in the Central Control Facility (CCF) at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The CCF is used to oversee EW mission data flight-testing. Portions of their missions are likely to expand under the new Air Force Cyber Command. (US Air Force)

Members of the trilateral security co-operative between Australia, the UK, and the US (AUKUS) have agreed to kick off collaborative development of advanced combat technologies, with an eye towards commonality and interoperability, beginning with electronic warfare (EW) capabilities.

Consortium members agreed that joint EW technology development would underpin the initial series of AUKUS Innovation Challenges, scheduled to begin in 2024. The EW-focused effort will allow “companies from across our three countries [to] compete for a common innovation challenge ... that will help our warfighters improve interoperability, gain decision advantage, and strengthen our deterrence” in the area of EW, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a 1 December press conference.

The establishment of the technology innovation challenges was one of several commitments, outlined by Austin and his UK and Australian counterparts, included in the AUKUS Pillar 2 agreement. At the heart of the AUKUS Pillar 1 deal was the sale of US Navy Virginia-class attack submarines (SSNs) to Australia, as the South Pacific country develops its own ability to build future AUKUS SSNs. While Pillar 2 looks to advance the submarine-focused elements of the agreement, it also aims to expand co-operative efforts between the three countries into other combat capabilities.

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