DEWC Services and the University of Adelaide unite for AI in Defence research

Adelaide-based DEWC Services has joined forces with the University of Adelaide to enhance cyber security within Australia’s Defence Force by researching ways that AI can provide deeper insights into military networks.

From assisting radar systems to better detect targets with accuracy and speed, identifying anomalies in large-scale surveillance networks to transforming imagery into geospatial information to improve situational awareness, machine learning (ML) is revolutionising the way Defence personnel gather and analyse intelligence.

The four-year research project, funded under the Defence Trailblazer Industry Research Program, will see DEWC Services support a PhD student to explore how combining advanced technology with network analysis and linguistic understanding can enable Defence to understand how best to employ networks for military applications.

DEWC Services is a leading expert across Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare (C4ISREW), and the PhD student will leverage the company’s unique industry insights and partnerships in the Defence sector. Working closely with leading researchers at the University of Adelaide’s School of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, the student will develop an initial prototype that employs ML models and techniques to analyse a network using real-world data.

With ML transforming the way Defence operates across intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare, DEWC Services Director – Science and Technology, Dr Tim McKay welcomed the opportunity to support the research.

“We are delighted to support the professional development of one of our very own cyber experts, while also driving research that will ultimately lead to new technologies that enhance Australia’s defence capabilities and posture,” Dr McKay said.

He explained that the project would explore ways to combine ML models to analyse network traffic using techniques such as OS fingerprinting, communication protocol classification and natural language processing models to help infer the intent of the network.

“Using ML to automate and congregate information from various sources to infer and predict a network is an effective reconnaissance tool and can help operators evaluate possible threats in an unobtrusive manner.”

Heather Nicoll General Manager of Workforce, Innovation & Culture at Defence Trailblazer said the project is helping to address an urgent workforce need.

“There is an urgent need to build workforce capability in Defence-related contexts, so we’re delighted to work closely with our partners to develop industry-led PhD and Masters offerings,” she said. “The scholarships have been specially designed to address the current and future needs of defence, with real-world projects on offer.”

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