Strategic advantage key to ADSTAR conference

ADSTAR 2024, the Australian Defence Science, Technology and Research summit, will feature the latest developments in next-generation defence science and technology, from hypersonic missiles to artificial intelligence-enabled autonomous uncrewed systems to the limitless possibilities of quantum computing. Focused on emerging science and technology, the biennial Defence symposium hosted by the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) brings hundreds of delegates from across the commercial, industrial, academic and military fields, ranging from small start-ups to academic leaders to big tech.

Representatives from Australia’s key defence partners – India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, the UK and the US – will attend the conference in Canberra in September. Undersecretary of research and engineering at the US Department of Defence, Ms Heidi Shyu, is slated to deliver the keynote address.

More than 1700 delegates, including a line-up of international luminaries, attended the first ADSTAR conference held in Sydney in 2022. The main themes were resilience in contested environments, artificial intelligence and biotechnologies with Defence announcing the Safeguarding Australia through Biotechnology Response and Engagement alliance.

DSTG organisers expect even stronger domestic and international interest in the 2024 conference.

Defence leaders will take part in conference panel discussions and share their priorities, discuss opportunities across the military realm and canvas areas where they are keen to collaborate.

“We want this to be accessible to a broad range of interested parties, everyone from policymakers to technologists,” says Dr Nigel McGinty, DSTG Chief Technology Officer. “This is more than just a conference. It’s an opportunity to network, to create new, dynamic partnerships, to explore potential new collaborations.”

ADSTAR is shaping up to be one of Defence’s major conference events. The strategic demand
for innovation science and technology has never been higher and ADSTAR is key to energising the national defence innovation, science and technology ecosystem.

ADSTAR’s main plenary session will canvas a broad range of key strategic defence issues, while a mix of exhibitors from Defence and industry will display and share their latest technologies.

The conference will feature six technical streams, aligned with the science and technology priorities set by the Defence Strategic Review. These include:

Hypersonic missiles;

Directed energy – using optical lasers or high-powered microwave as a weapon to shoot down drones or incoming artillery rounds;

Trusted autonomy – autonomous systems of uncrewed vehicles working

collaboratively and human-machine teaming;

Quantum technologies, including position, navigation and timing capabilities to allow positioning information independent of GPS – extremely important in contested environments;

Information warfare and countering disinformation campaigns; and

“Long-range fires” – how the reach of Australia’s long-range missiles and artillery can be extended.

“Science and technology are absolutely critical for us in terms of being able to have disruptive capabilities,” Dr McGinty says, “these are the technologies we will develop and adopt to give
us a strategic advantage”.