All Australian warships are getting predictive and counter-threat AI

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The Royal Australian Navy [RAN] is making strides in the integration of artificial intelligence into its warships. Lee Jackson, Commander and Director of AI, discussed this advancement in a report published by Australia’s Ministry of Defense. Jackson explained that AI will soon be capable of predicting and countering underwater threats with AI-enabled drones, performing both surface and subsurface missions. 

Photo credit: Australian MoD

According to Jackson, AI has the potential to become a ubiquitous tool, seamlessly integrated into everyday operations. It could assist in generating images and documents, managing emails, and even forecasting future challenges. “The aim is to liberate personnel from tasks that machines can excel at,” he emphasized. “This enables our people to focus on what they do best, while machines handle their strengths.” 

Currently, the fleet employs machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, which helps systems not only assist personnel but also make informed decisions in various scenarios. In other words, these systems are continuously adapting, analyzing, and visualizing data to streamline operations. This technological advancement aids in processing vast amounts of data, as well as robotizing and automating repetitive tasks, enhancing overall efficiency.

Photo credit: Australian MoD

Implementation

Jackson points out that the next big breakthrough in artificial intelligence systems is on the horizon: their integration. This won’t happen overnight but will unfold gradually, starting with tests on specific ships. Jackson reveals which RAN warships will be the pioneers in integrating AI into the Navy. 

These upcoming tests aim to evaluate the effectiveness and overall results. The main objective is to process data and generate battlefield scenarios. Everyone involved will share an immense amount of data, and the AI will be tasked with processing it swiftly. This will be the AI’s primary responsibility. 

Photo credit: BAE Systems

The first initiative under AUKUS involved programming an AI algorithm to interpret signals from sonar buoys. These buoys, deployed by a P-8A Poseidon, listen for ships, submarines, whales, or other unidentified sounds. The ultimate goal is to integrate AI into Navy systems to enhance human decision-making.

The Allies

Australia’s closest allies, the US and the UK, are making strides in incorporating AI technologies into their naval fleets. These navies are using AI algorithms to keep tabs on the health of their ships and predict potential damage before it happens. 

Photo credit: Kraken Robotics

This proactive strategy allows for timely maintenance and repairs, boosting operational efficiency and extending the lifespan of naval assets. AI-driven predictive maintenance systems use data from various sensors and historical records to identify patterns and anomalies that may signal future issues. 

AI is also enhancing decision-making in naval operations. These advanced systems give commanders real-time information and recommendations, helping them to make more informed and effective decisions in complex, rapidly changing situations. This is especially crucial in scenarios such as anti-submarine warfare, where timely and precise information is key.

Already in action

Photo credit: Defense Express

Not just the US and UK, but Australia is also integrating artificial intelligence into its naval operations. One key focus area is the deployment of AI in autonomous underwater vehicles [AUVs].

These AUVs can undertake various tasks, such as mine detection and neutralization, underwater reconnaissance, and ocean floor mapping. With artificial intelligence, these vehicles operate autonomously, cutting down on human intervention and enhancing personnel safety.

The Royal Australian Navy is already using AI in several of its systems. One notable AUV is the Bluefin-9, designed for swift deployment and high-resolution data gathering. There’s also the REMUS 600, a highly adaptable AUV capable of operating at depths up to 600 meters. The GhostSwimmer, which mimics the movement of a fish, is another fascinating addition to Australia’s fleet. Not to be overlooked, Australia also employs the SeaWolf and Wave Glider, cutting-edge hybrid AI drones.

Photo credit: Defense Express

Last but not least

In the realm of cybersecurity, AI technologies are increasingly being deployed to safeguard naval networks and systems from cyber threats. Both the U.S. and U.K. navies rely on AI-driven cybersecurity solutions to detect and respond to cyberattacks in real-time. Meanwhile, Australia is preparing to integrate a tested cyber protection system into its navy operations. 

These advanced systems utilize machine learning algorithms to spot unusual behavior patterns and potential vulnerabilities, allowing for swift and automated countermeasures. By boosting its cybersecurity defenses with AI, the Navy aims to protect critical infrastructure and ensure the integrity of its operations.

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