Digital engineering can forge a future defence force that continually innovates and quickly adjust to a rapidly evolving technology and threat landscape. It enables the prototype warfare concept of adopting archetype models, which are proven in virtual experimentation, produced in small quantities, and quickly introduced into service. Realising continuous innovation and an adaptable force hinges on three key ingredients: an agreed and shared virtual design, development and manufacturing reference architecture that provides a technical description of the prototype devices based on a set of common standards; a well-connected defence-industry-academia ecosystem of innovators, partners, and suppliers; and a change to the defence DNA to welcome and embrace innovation.
Our graduate program will develop the foundations of the required reference architecture. It will demonstrate its benefits by designing, building, and flight-testing various on-demand small unmanned aerial systems, each optimised for a different mission. Once tested, we will roll out our architecture to a broad set of end-users and provide training. We will extract and disseminate lessons learned on various aspects of the program to facilitate and speed up translation to other devices. We will generate a cohort of innovation catalysts and create a tightly-connected community of defence innovation SMEs and academic partners.