The future of robotics and autonomous systems

The crystal ball is a little clearer for Defence’s logistics elements and those involved in robotics and autonomous systems with the release of two new concepts by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force Executive.

CAPTION: Members of the first Remote Pilot Warfare Officer course load a ScanEagle unmanned aircraft to the launcher before a flight at Jervis Bay Airfield. Photo by Chief Petty Officer Cameron Martin.

Released late last year, the two concepts, developed by the Force Exploration Hub, captured ideas to assist in designing the future force.

Author of Concept for Future Logistics Major Ian North said concepts assisted in defining the range of force options Defence needed to meet future challenges.

“The critical parts of the concepts are the ability statements, which are the overarching design principles for that component – the things we think it needs to be able to do to give us that advantage,” Major North said.

His concept looked at how the structure of Defence logistics could change to support the introduction of technology, create commonality across the ADF and generate more robust and efficient effects.

“We’re looking at common training and systems for the three services, then how we can work better with coalition, partners and industry to make those interactions more seamless,” Major North said.

“We can exploit those advantages to provide a diversity of options to everything that Defence needs logistics for, whether that is complex warfighting or domestic disaster relief activities.”

The key to developing the concepts was in early engagement with industry and academia, according to Future Robotics and Autonomous Systems author, Squadron Leader Robert Vine.

“It’s pretty clear that robotics and autonomous systems are one of the strategically disruptive technologies that’s emerging and is going to change a lot over the next 20 years,” Squadron Leader Vine said.

“We envisage a future where the ADF operates human-machine teams to increase the mass of the force and provide a greater effect for longer, over a greater area.

“There’s three parts to that: the challenges we’re going to face in utilising them, the opportunities they can provide us and what the adversarial threat will be from their use.

“The concept explored all the things we need to embrace robotics and autonomous systems, as well as how we can posture to counter the threat at the same time, so the ADF can achieve an advantage.”

The logistics and robotics and autonomous systems concepts are joined by the classified Multi-Domain Strike concept.

Further information is available on the Defence website at 





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