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Accelerating autonomy: Autonomous systems and the Tiger helicopter replacement

By Marcus Hellyer

The benefits of autonomous systems on the modern battlefield have been widely recognised, yet Defence has only slowly adopted them.

It continues to invest heavily in manned platforms that are increasingly expensive but still expose their crews to constantly proliferating threats. This means that Defence is acquiring small numbers of exquisite manned platforms that could be too valuable and too few to risk losing.

Defence has started to explore using autonomous systems on the battlefield, but it’s now time to accelerate their development and adoption by the ADF.

A new APSI Special Report, ‘Accelerating autonomy: autonomous systems and the Tiger helicopter replacement’ recommends how Defence can jump start the transition to greater use of autonomous systems.

Report author Dr Marcus Hellyer said that ‘Defence has slowly been developing trust in unmanned systems. It’s laid a foundation, now it’s time to do a lot more.’ The report argues that Defence needs to identify areas of capability where autonomous systems can deliver disruptive innovation. Investing in those systems can deliver more capability at less cost than traditional manned systems.