Autonomy is fast becoming a mainstay in our everyday lives. Increasingly, its presence and the efficiencies it affords often unnoticed in our daily routine.
When you consider self-navigating vacuums gaining popularity across the globe, it makes sense to ponder the autonomous technologies that will significantly alter the future beyond the cosy confines of our living rooms into the highly advanced and complex defence industry domain and future battlespace.
“Autonomy means learning, adapting, adjusting, responding. These verbs are easy for humans, but coding them into a software program requires industry-leading expertise.”
Australian Defence Magazine explores the future of autonomous technology at BAE Systems Australia.
What we do
Back in 1988 BAE Systems Australia formed a capability in Autonomy to create Nulka
, a rocket-propelled active decoy designed to ‘seduce’ modern anti-ship missiles away from their targets.
Its creation established BAE Systems aptitude in autonomy and paved the way for the development of autonomous systems in defence technology.
Today BAE Systems Australia’s autonomous capability has evolved significantly, having successfully developed autonomous systems to operate across air, land and sea.
Most recently, engineers and technicians of BAE Systems Red Ochre LABS installed hardware and software in more than 20 M113
armoured vehicles enabling them to operate autonomously. The project is providing crucial insights into the capabilities of integrated autonomous technologies on future battlefields for the Australian Army.
In December 2020, the Boeing Loyal Wingman
aircraft – the first military aircraft, developed and built in Australia in more than 50 years will take its first flight. The aircraft is unmanned with a team of Red Ochre LABS engineers supplying the unmanned flight vehicle management solution and simulation capability, flight control computers and navigation equipment for the aircraft.
This future altering technology has evolved significantly from an accomplished legacy in sovereign expertise that helped create Nulka. In the decades since its inception, Nulka has undergone continuous development and transformation upgrades along with autonomy and related technologies for a dynamic array of autonomous platforms. This includes building, testing, modelling, driving and flying these systems.
We have developed our Kingfisher UAVs and Digger UGV in addition to autonomy solutions for Raven, Herti, Corax, Mantis and Taranis UAV’s as well as Guidance Systems for hypersonic vehicles, Digger and Super Mule ground vehicles.
Overall, these represent a diverse range of autonomy spanning the less complex to the highly advanced and sophisticated navigation, mapping, vision and safety systems.
Brad Yelland, Chief Technology Officer, explains the opportunity:
“The Defence Force of the future will rely on trusted autonomous systems to plan and coordinate operations, allow quick decision making and respond to unexpected or unplanned actions, and work to keep our service men and women out of harms way.”
BAE Systems is one of Australia’s largest employers of engineers. If you’re looking for an exciting career in autonomy and beyond, explore a career