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18/05/22: Exercise Autonomous Warrior 2022

According to an Australian Department of Defence press release on May 16, 2022, Exercise Autonomous Warrior 2022 has kicked off in Jervis Bay.

Commencing today, HMAS Creswell and the waters of Jervis Bay will be the scene of a simulated, next generation naval battlespace – Exercise Autonomous Warrior 2022 (AW22).

This Royal Australian Navy (RAN) led Exercise will test and evaluate uncrewed, robotic and autonomous systems in Jervis Bay, in the nearby East Australian Exercise Area and the skies above.

AW22 will involve approximately 300 personnel from 40 organisations across three countries – Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America – who will test leading-edge technologies designed to confront emerging maritime security challenges.

The two-week exercise will test around 40 autonomous systems and technologies in a series of carefully designed and planned simulations involving maritime, littoral, air and land operations.

The simulated missions will demonstrate capabilities including mine countermeasures; survey, surveillance, reconnaissance; undersea warfare; intelligence gathering; force protection; interoperability and interchangeability.

In addition to testing the capabilities of autonomous vessels, aircraft and vehicles, the exercise will also test sophisticated Command and Control (C2) technologies. These are used to receive, process and present data inputs from multiple systems to inform command decisions and direct autonomous systems’ actions.

Director General Warfare Innovation – Navy, Commodore Darron Kavanagh, said AW22 comes at a crucial time for Australia and is an important industry collaboration activity.

“Throughout the Indo-Pacific, Australia is facing evolving maritime security challenges.

“This international maritime Robotics and Autonomous System Operational Experimentation activity will evaluate leading-edge technologies to help us respond to those challenges,” he said.

“AW22 is an exciting opportunity to showcase the utility and advantages of uncrewed systems in a variety of warfare domains in collaboration with our allies, partners and industry. It demonstrates our commitment to ongoing collaboration, transformation and adaptation to meet strategic requirements.

“Throughout the exercise, we will be mindful of the importance of protecting the safety, environment and heritage values of the Jervis Bay area,” Commodore Kavanagh said.

AW22 is the latest iteration in a series of similar exercises and demonstrations aimed at facilitating Defence’s ongoing collaboration with our allies, partners and industry to develop, evaluate and acquire uncrewed, robotic and autonomous capabilities.

Autonomous Warrior was last held on this scale at Creswell in 2018, with smaller demonstration exercises conducted in other locations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Naval News, the T-38 Devil Ray and SailDrone USVs are taking part in the exercise. The featured photo shows the T-38 Devil Ray operating during IMX 2022 in Bahrain.

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