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AUKUS challenge launched to uncover electronic warfare innovation

An AUKUS Electronic Warfare Innovation Challenge has been announced to seek innovative solutions for electronic warfare.

An AUKUS Electronic Warfare Innovation Challenge has been announced to seek innovative solutions for electronic warfare.

The first AUKUS Challenge, launched through the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA) on 26 March, will identify capabilities that utilise electromagnetic spectrum technology to gain a strategic edge in EM targeting and provide protection against adversarial EM targeting capabilities, from industry and research institutions in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

EMS technology presents a congested and competitive environment, requiring low-cost, disposable, and highly autonomous capabilities for an asymmetrical advantage. The challenge is expected to identify electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) technologies for both offensive and defensive purposes.


ASCA will lead the Australian component of the first trilateral innovation challenge simultaneously alongside the United Kingdom, led by the Defence and Security Accelerator, and the United States, led by the Defense Innovation Unit.

“The release of this challenge creates an opportunity for Australian defence industry and academia to pitch the very best ideas to a trilateral audience,” according to Stephen Moore, Department of Defence AUKUS Advanced Capabilities first assistant secretary.

“Defence is pleased to be delivering this challenge through ASCA.”

Up to $240,000 is reportedly on offer per winner for up to three winners of the Australian challenge. The challenge, focusing on leveraging EMS technology for electromagnetic targeting and protect against adversary targeting, is expected to bring forward cutting-edge capabilities for the Australian Defence Force while securing a competitive advantage to deter threats to regional security.

Each country will assess winners based on a set of pre-determined criteria aligned to national interests and priorities, with shared access to the best solutions across all three national challenges.

“The electromagnetic spectrum is an increasingly contested, complex and competitive environment,” according to ASCA head Professor Emily Hilder.

“It is exciting that electronic warfare is the first of the AUKUS innovation challenges and we look forward to seeing not only what Australian capability is available, but across our AUKUS partners as well.”

Defence is interested in technology regarding identifying targets or target location using EMS, monitoring target movement with EMS, EMS-enabled weapon systems and effects of EMS-assisted attack.

The AusTender closing date is 7 May, with expected timeline for delivery between 5 to 22 July this year.

The US tender has outlined judging criteria on technical soundness and innovation (sensors, closed-loop targeting, electronic attack, EMS access, EMS deception and denial), as well as capability considerations (agility, multi-functionality, interoperability, interchangeability, connectivity, cost effectiveness, sovereignty, range, time, autonomy, projection and domain).

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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