Aus defence players shifting to become innovators

Aus defence players shifting to become innovators
An Australian Army Boeing CH-47D Chinook helicopter

Shane Arnott, director of Boeing’s Phantom Works International, has talked up some key developments in the Australian defence industry, noting a transition towards organisations becoming manufacturers and innovators – rather than mere buyers.

"We are really pleased with the changes here in Australia, so the whole innovation agenda of the government, the Defence Innovation Hub, the next gen technology fund and Plan Jericho: all these things are big signals to us that Australia is sort of moving from being a buyer to a maker and an innovator, right?" Arnott told Defence Connect, adding "this is great [as] that stimulates us to do things here".

Arnott identified some emerging trends in the Australian defence market, including around autonomy.

"I think the whole autonomy space is huge, and in particular manned-unmanned teaming," he said. "Not necessarily taking something that a human's doing and totally replacing it, but how do you enhance what they're doing?"

A major challenge, as well as an opportunity, related to finding the most suitable method to extricate certain dull, dirty and dangerous elements of the operational processes away from human beings.

"They're still in the loop making decisions, but the machine is [now] doing that, so that's a huge one," he said.

In addition, Arnott noted that mission systems were mainly instrumental in the interoperability space.

"Plan Jericho talks a lot about this, so we're spending a lot of time looking at new ways of interoperability [and] new data links," he said. "There's new concepts like the combat cloud that are in evolution over and above traditional data links, so we're looking at that."

Aus defence players shifting to become innovators
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