Samples of our major and world leading capabilities.


Samples of our major and world leading capabilities.

AI, Cyber, Autonomous Systems, Electronics

Advances in machine learning, high-performance computing and data science are converging to create significant advancements for intelligent autonomous systems.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is enabling machines to move into roles and conduct tasks that were previously done by humans, solving problems in novel ways, and relieving the burden of ‘dull, dirty and dangerous’. Distributed and networked autonomous systems will, by necessity deploy elements in uncertain and sometimes hostile environments, elements that will require protection even in the ‘information domain’ where they can be targets of cyber-attacks.

Our researchers are world leaders in these fields and their work has been recognised internationally.

Our research capabilities include:

  • Intelligent systems
  • Resilient and reliable software development
  • Human-machine interfaces
  • Cyber-security and cyber-attack detection
  • Cryptography and secure communication
  • Neural networks for signal processing and deep learning
  • Collaborative multi-agent tasking and performance
  • Trust and authorisation in autonomous systems
  • Human-machine teaming
(Aero)Space, Radar, Sensors, Antennae

Continual progress in the miniaturisation and sophistication of aerospace sensors, platforms and control systems brings with it opportunities both commercial and military as well as challenges like airspace management.

Sensors are now an integral part of the control systems for unmanned aerial vehicles and spacecraft and can be tailored to a range of operational needs, from simple data collection to support of AI-based tools for real-time intelligence sharing and decision-making.

Furthermore, in May 2018, the Federal Government acknowledged the growing importance of space industry by investing $300 million into Australian space technologies and satellite infrastructure.

NSW are well-placed to support this and other aerospace investments with world-leading capabilities including:

  • Integrated Air/Space traffic management and control
  • Advanced imaging and remote sensing systems
  • Space Situational Awareness
  • Space technology development
  • Satellite constellations and ‘formation flying’
  • Space-based instrumentation
  • Ground-based space surveillance
  • Novel antenna concepts
  • Hyperspectral imaging
  • Quantum technologies and sensing
Signal processing, Image processing

Modern technologies like mobile communications and medical imaging depend on signal and image processing. Signal and image processing algorithms also underpin defence applications like platform guidance and control, wide-area surveillance and reconnaissance, and force protection.

Increasingly, defence platforms are being equipped with integrated sensors and signal processing to enable rapid data collection, processing and transmission to improve the ability of military decision-makers to act quickly and decisively.

NSW universities engage in a wide range of research and development in sensors and signal processing including:

  • Radar
  • Sonar
  • Optical/infrared and hyperspectral sensors
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Speech processing
  • Image/video compression, analysis & processing
  • AI-assisted detection, classification and tracking
  • Machine perception
  • Multisensory surveillance
Materials sciences, Prototyping

The development of new advanced materials is dramatically changing concepts in design and manufacturing and has the potential to change the nature of the defence. New materials can make military systems lighter, tougher, stealthier, more durable and/or more responsive, while at the same time reducing their cost and maintenance overheads.

New additive manufacturing (3D printing) techniques across a range of structural materials (plastics, metals, ceramics) have the potential to support novel engineering designs for military use in hostile environments.

It also enables deployable manufacturing – that is, the ability to print new systems or replacement parts on-site and on-demand –  which could considerably improve the ability to repair and maintain Australian military platforms overseas, thus leading to significant cost reductions, design enhancements and improved response times to reach the end-user.

Many of our member universities already work closely with defence stakeholders to bring their advancements in materials science to major defence projects.

Our capabilities include:


  • Advanced material and device characterisation
  • Rapid prototyping of metal parts using wire-arc additive manufacturing
  • Development of materials for next-generation electronics, energy, sensing
  • Development of new types of soft body armour, robust batteries
  • Advanced transducers for underwater sonar applications
  • Specialised welding in unusual alloys and machining for large product refurbishment
Mathematical and Statistical Modelling

Mathematics and statistical modelling provides a framework for understanding and solving various and complex problems, and has ‘officially’ been applied to Defence equipment and operations for the better part of a century.

In addition to providing a foundation for designing and evaluating new technologies, mathematics and statistical modelling can be applied to fleet management and logistics and complex military operations including humanitarian assistance and cyber defence.

Modelling is commonly used to enable military planners and users to test and evaluate system performance, suggest improvements or find weaknesses before the system is deployed, and provide training.

Our world-leading capabilities cover areas:

  • Data analysis, Big Data
  • Modelling and Estimation
  • Operational analysis for decision making
  • Security
  • Signal processing
  • Statistical methods- Bayesian interference and computation, Bayesian fast approximations, Monte Carlo methods, Optimisation
  • Game theory
  • Probability
  • Time series analysis
  • Data visualisation
Quantum Technologies and Computing

Imagine a computer that can teach a mobile phone to recognize any object, or one that can instantly find optimal travel routes for thousands of planes, or even one that can scan through millions of social media posts to identify a potential terrorist.

Quantum computing could bring game changing advantage for the Australian Defence through their ability to undertake multiple calculations simultaneously or solve problems that would take years for a normal computer to crunch through.

Quantum sensors could provide game-changing advantages to Australian Defence through precision positioning and sensing in hostile or GPS-denied areas.

Our member universities have a long history of leading research in quantum technologies and computing.

Our capabilities include:

  • Quantum computing & communications
  • Sensing and navigation
  • Quantum Radar
  • Networked quantum devices
  • Quantum devices and sensing


Advanced Human Performance

Human performance is recognised as a critical factor across Defence. The soldier remains the single most important factor that influences the success of defence operations. Human systems are usually complex, do not respond to situations uniformly and require an understanding of a broad range of research disciplines including psychology, social science, health, etc.

The aim of the research is to enable each soldier to reach the optimal level of performance, well-being, and resilience and to provide resources to recover with minimal risk and stress.

Our multi-disciplinary teams cover research in different areas including:

  • Optimising human physical and cognitive performance
  • Multi-sensory communication
  • Biochemistry analysis
  • Body composition
  • Exercise performance
  • Neurobiology
  • Human thinking, reasoning, judgement
  • Speech and Language
  • Workforce resilience
  • Choice and Decision Making
  • Resilience- physical, mental, emotional
  • Human-machine teaming and interface

Our Partner Universities