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US Navy says it will trial using AI to track Chinese submarines in the Pacific

Polly Thompson   

US Navy says it will trial using AI to track Chinese submarines in the Pacific
  • The US, Australia, and the UK will use AI to counter China's growing military assertiveness in the Pacific.
  • The move is part of the Aukus Pillar II alliance between the countries.

The US, UK, and Australia have unveiled new plans to trial the use of AI to track Chinese submarines in the Pacific.

Speaking on Friday at a joint meeting in Mountain View, California, defense leaders from each country announced two new plans under Aukus Pillar II, a trilateral security arrangement set up in 2021 that aims to "help sustain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region."

One of the new efforts announced was the use of advanced AI on patrol aircraft — including the US's P-8A Poseidon aircraft, which is equipped for anti-submarine warfare — to process information from underwater detection devices used by each country.

Data processed by AI will enable the three countries to track Chinese submarines with more speed and accuracy.

"These joint advances will allow for timely high-volume data exploitation, improving our anti-submarine warfare capabilities," they said in a joint statement.

AI algorithms and machine learning will also be used to "enhance force protection, precision targeting, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance."

In addition to AI, the three countries said they were collaborating in other technological areas such as quantum technologies, electronic warfare, and hypersonic weapons.

Speaking at the press conference, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said that China's rising aggression had increased the need for collaboration.

Just weeks ago a team of Australian naval divers were injured by a Chinese warship's sonar weapon, despite making their presence known to the vessel's crew.

"This is unsafe and unprofessional conduct," Marles said about the incident, per The Guardian. "The safety and wellbeing of our [Australian Defence Force] personnel continues to be our utmost priority.

"Australia expects all countries, including China, to operate their militaries in a professional and safe manner," he added.

The Pentagon's recent China Military Power Report noted a significant concern "of an operational incident or miscalculation spiraling into crisis or conflict."

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