New AUKUS cooperation on electronic warfare capabilities

As part of the AUKUS partnership, the government has said that the UK, US and Australia will begin co-operating on research into hypersonic weapons and how to defend against them.

Following the development of hypersonic missiles by China and Russia and their purported use by Russia in Ukraine last month, the programme forms part of the security pact announced by the three countries last year.

Hypersonic weapons are those that exceed five times the speed of sound. They are harder to defend against because of their speed as well as the fact they fly at low altitudes - beyond the line of sight of ground-based radars - and can manoeuvre mid-flight. The UK does not currently possess hypersonic missiles.

A government statement said that the initiatives ‘will add to our existing efforts to deepen cooperation on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities’. It went on to say that ‘as our work progresses on these and other critical defence and security capabilities, we will seek opportunities to engage allies and close partners’.


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