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Japan, Australia to develop communication technologies for undersea RAS

Personnel from the Royal Australian Navy test an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) in Western Australia in 2021. Australia will collaborate with Japan to develop communication technologies that can enhance the interoperability of UUVs used by both countries. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Japan and Australia plan to initially focus on enhancing underwater communication technologies under a recently signed bilateral agreement to co-develop robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) for undersea warfare.

A spokesperson for Australia's Department of Defence (DoD) told Janes on 29 January that “this is a government-to-government arrangement to enable joint research between Australia's Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and Japan's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA)”.

“The immediate focus of DSTG and ATLA will be on undersea communication technologies to enhance interoperability between our two nations,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for ATLA told Janes on 30 January that ATLA and DSTG “will establish evaluation indices for underwater acoustic communications by connecting their test and evaluation simulators for underwater acoustic communications, and by carrying out simulations under various scenarios using Japanese and Australian underwater acoustic communications models and marine environment information, etc”.

“It is expected that the results of this project will be utilised for the interoperability of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) between Japan and Australia in the future,” the spokesperson said.

The spokespersons for ATLA and the DoD said this first joint research project on underwater communication technologies is expected to be completed by the end of 2027.

The research and development (R&D) activities for the project will take place in Japan and Australia, they said. “[The R&D activities will be] conducted at the facilities of ATLA and DSTG,” the ATLA spokesperson added.

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