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STaR Shots - a new Science & Technology strategy for Defence

Australia faces an increasingly challenging and contested security environment over the next decade. The Defence White Paper 2016 outlined the Government’s intent to ensure a regionally superior ADF with the highest levels of military capability and technological sophistication.

The importance of science and technology (S&T) in delivering strategic advantage across the full spectrum of Defence capabilities is paramount. Success will be linked not only to a focused science, technology and research program but also to effectively leveraging and shaping the national S&T enterprise.

As the technological challenges to Defence capabilities are rapidly evolving and broadening, a new coordinated approach is envisioned for the delivery of Defence’s S&T outcomes which will accelerate and grow the scale of S&T activities.

DST is developing an S&T Strategy for Defence, to deliver greater impact through a tighter focus on activities that are larger in scale and supported by a national S&T enterprise and international partnerships.

Foundational pillars of the strategy

Three strategic pillars underpin the delivery of STaR Shots and broader Defence S&T program: One Defence S&T Capability, Brilliant People, Collaborative Culture, and Outstanding Research Infrastructure Powering Innovation. They will be crucial to shaping a Defence S&T enterprise with a capacity to create future Defence capability and secure Australia’s defence and national security interests.

One Defence S&T Capability

The One Defence S&T Strategy will shape partnerships between Defence, our national S&T enterprise and international partners and, through a One Defence S&T Capability Plan, will map how these elements of the community contribute to Defence S&T capability.

Brilliant People, Collaborative Culture

The new strategy will also focus on developing a highly-skilled innovative, collaborative and inclusive workforce to meet the S&T challenges of delivering a capability edge for Defence. It will leverage Defence’s STEM Strategy to create opportunities for ongoing fundamental and multidisciplinary education.

Outstanding Research Infrastructure Powering Innovation

Initiatives will be introduced to ensure Defence possesses or can access the research infrastructure required to deliver its current or future capabilities. The investment in research infrastructure, based on the S&T Infrastructure Plan, will shape opportunities to co-locate with partners leading to the establishment of modern physical and information research environments that foster team work and collaboration.

Centrepiece of the strategy

Challenge-driven STaR Shots

A set of STaR Shots will be established to focus strategic research and set the foundation for future leap-ahead capabilities. Having clearly-defined transition pathways, these Defence-sponsored aspirational and inspirational programs will demonstrate tangible future-focused defence capabilities sponsored by a senior Defence leader.  

A tentative list of STaR Shots is below and will be finalised after consultation with stakeholders in Defence, industry and academia.

Consultation and information sessions are being held throughout September and October to solicit input and feedback which will inform the One Defence S&T Strategy 2020-30.

Remote Undersea Surveillance

Remote Undersea SurveillanceAustralia’s large maritime domain and limited crewed platforms present a significant challenge in monitoring undersea threats. Through better coordination of existing systems supplemented by novel technologies, this STaR Shot will deliver remotely deployable undersea surveillance systems to support anti-submarine warfare and extend the reach of the ADF’s maritime surveillance operations, including unattended undersea surveillance over extended time periods.

Contact: Shane Canney ()

Operating in CBRN Environments

Operating in CBRN EnvironmentsThe ADF needs the ability to detect, identify, monitor, predict and communicate a fused common operating picture to counter the full-spectrum of emerging CBRN agents that pose a growing threat to Australia and across the globe. By 2025 this STaR Shot will progressively deliver threat detection and defeat capabilities underpinned by real-time data fusion technologies, autonomous remote sensing of hazards, and situation awareness of threats.

Contact: Peter Shoubridge ()

Resilient Multi-Mission Space

Resilient Multi-Mission SpaceThe existing space capability is becoming highly vulnerable in an increasingly contested space domain. The ADF needs an intelligence cloud of next generation space systems that is resilient and responsive to its mission requirements. This STaR Shot will leverage Australian autonomous and next generation space system technologies to demonstrate communication, surveillance and positioning, navigation and timing capabilities within an operational demonstration of a cloud system. It will be Coalition-ready for global operations in contested battlespaces, delivering information directly to the warfighter and space services to the ADF in real time.

Contact: Andrew Seedhouse ()

Quantum Assured Position, Navigation and Timing

Quantum Assured Position Navigation and TimingPosition, Navigation and Timing (PNT) systems are vital for military operations to maintain constant situational awareness. They are reliant on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) which in future conflicts may only provide restricted access, degrading PNT reliability. This STaR Shot will explore quantum technologies as a solution to assure PNT in a GNSS constrained environment. A prototype will be demonstrated during maritime trials in 2022 and 2024. A successful outcome will ensure the ADF has a trusted PNT system to support the timing requirements of battlespace networks and achieve mission success.

Contact: Dale Lambert ()

Disruptive Weapon Effects

Disruptive Weapon EffectsThe future battlespace will be contested in all domains and will be increasingly complex, lethal and expanded. This STaR Shot aims to demonstrate emerging and disruptive weapon technologies to enable Joint Force manoeuvre and to survive the fight in a highly contested environment. The weapon capabilities will build on Australian unique research strengths in high speed systems, tactical booster design, transformative energetics, collaborative weapons teaming, advanced sensors and directed energy technologies. It will also leverage key strategic alliances with trusted international partners.

Contact: John Riley ()

Information Warfare

Information warfareThe new theatre of warfare is the information environment which now controls and influences the physical realm through Electronic Warfare (EW), the inside information realm through Cyber Warfare (CW) and the human realm through Influence Operations (IO). Information Warfare is the sum total of these three elements brought together in a seamless way. Through this STaR Shot, a blended awareness and effects across the physical, information and human realms will be achieved. The capability will be refined through wargaming scenarios designed to increase the effectiveness of air, land, maritime, and space platforms while enhancing intelligence and national security operations.

Contact: Dale Lambert ()

Agile Command and Control

Agile Command and ControlJoint All Domain Operations is the new reality in modern warfare, requiring simultaneous effects within and across every operating domain. They are high speed, high manoeuvre operations conducted at tempos difficult to match. The ADF needs Joint All Domain Command and Control (C2) to maximise the impact of all other Defence capabilities into a synchronised, coherent force delivering an operational edge for Australia. This STaR Shot will leverage enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomy and human-machine interactions, combining them with emerging C2 and situation understanding concepts to achieve a continuously evolving end-to-end Joint All Domain C2 capability that will be reconfigurable and deployable. The new capability will enable commanders to make rapid decisions based on actionable information and enhanced situation understanding of complex battlespaces.

Contact: Lynn Booth ()

Battle-Ready Platforms

Battle-Ready PlatformsMaintenance of ADF platforms is a significant cost for Defence. Traditional maintenance approaches based on predetermined life cycles have resulted in reduced availability of platforms or additional maintenance than required. This STaR Shot will lower the cost of maintenance and improve availability of platforms for operational service through the intelligent use of data analytics, improved structural and equipment predictive condition modelling, platform condition based monitoring and fleet usage scheduling.

Contact: Shane Canney ()

Key information

Information sessions

Registrations to attend the information sessions have now closed.

More information

To contact one of our STaR Shot leads, their contact information can be found at the bottom of the relevant section. Otherwise for further information, please send us an email.