July 16, 2024

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US, UK and Australia move to track ‘emerging threats’ in space

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The US, UK and Australia have agreed to boost their ability to monitor “emerging threats” in space, in one of several new initiatives linked to the trilateral security pact they signed in 2021 as part of their efforts to counter China.

The allies will build three ground-based radars — one in each country — to enhance “space domain awareness” and increase their ability to detect, track and identify objects in deep space. The first radar, to be built in Western Australia, will be operational by 2026 and the others will be completed by 2030.

The plan was unveiled on Friday by US defence secretary Lloyd Austin, Australian defence minister Richard Marles and British defence secretary Grant Shapps. The ministers were in California for an annual meeting aimed at boosting co-operation on Aukus, a landmark agreement focused on enabling Australia to procure nuclear-propelled submarines.

The radar system would protect the three countries’ communications and navigation satellites “from the deadly threats of tomorrow”, Shapps said, allowing them to detect, identify and track threats in space up to 36,000km away.

“[It will be] more sensitive, more accurate, more powerful and agile than anything that has gone before, giving us the ability to see beyond the clouds,” he said.

Aukus also includes a second pillar that is focused on other technologies, ranging from cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence and quantum technologies to research and development efforts for hypersonic and counter-hypersonic weapons.

In a statement, the allies said they would also conduct experiments and exercises to boost the sophistication and scale of autonomous systems at sea. They said that would refine their ability to jointly operate uncrewed maritime systems and provide real-time maritime domain awareness.

The US State Department also approved a $2bn…

2023-12-01 19:21:06

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