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US, Australia to announce critical technology partnership this fall

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system is a critical capability for US missile defence in Guam. Shyu said the US and Australia are working together to figure out how to integrate missile defence systems. (US Army)

The US is set to step up its technology partnerships with Australia in the coming months with an AUKUS-related announcement in the fall, the Department of Defense's (DoD's) chief technology officer announced on 29 August.

As part of the Australia, US, and United Kingdom subdevelopment agreement, US President Joe Biden will announce a new agreement on a “critical technology”, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu told reporters on 29 August.

“We're flushing out the details on the critical technology, so it will be more of a portfolio approach rather than ‘here's all these technology on the table',” she said, adding that she proposed the collaboration to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Senior leaders announced that Pillar 2 efforts had begun for AUKUS in June 2023. At that time, unmanned systems and artificial intelligence (AI) were areas of early focus, said Admiral Michael Gilday (retd), former US chief of naval operations.

After meeting with Australian counterparts in May, the Pentagon wants to solidify technology collaboration in the integrated missile defence area, she said. Australian leaders will come to the US in September to discuss this, she noted.

“We're going to start to flesh out the details,” Shyu said. She said she has involved the US Army and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in discussions about the partnership because these two organisations are leading the integrations of capabilities to defend Guam.

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