AUKUS Electronic Warfare Challenge

Key Features

On Friday 1 December 2023, Defence Ministers announced the launch of an innovation challenge series for AUKUS Pillar 2.

Programme:     DASA

Award:     Share of up to £1.92 million

Opens: 16th Apr 2024

Closes: 16th May 2024

! This scheme is now closed


On Friday 1 December 2023, Defence Ministers announced the launch of an innovation challenge series for AUKUS Pillar 2. The first of these challenges will be focussed on Electronic Warfare (EW).

AUKUS is a landmark security and defence partnership between Australia, the UK, and the US to support a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening regional global security. Through Pillar 2, AUKUS partners seek to strengthen trilateral capabilities in cutting-edge military technologies, increase interoperability, and drive knowledge-sharing and innovation.

This is a trilaterally agreed challenge with three entry streams running concurrently in Australia, United Kingdom and United States with national process and terms applied. The challenge is being run as three separate competitions by the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA) in Australia, the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) in the United Kingdom and the Defence Innovation Unit (DIU) in the United States.

This is the United Kingdom competition document (open to UK bidders only), run by the Defence and Security Accelerator.

This challenge aims to have delivered impactful solutions by 2025.

Sign up for the launch webinar here.


The electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) is a heavily congested, contested, complex and competitive environment, and there is an increasing need for low cost, disposable, high volume and highly autonomous capabilities to achieve asymmetric advantage.

How might Defence harness the EMS to project force to target adversaries and counter their ability to target AUKUS partners?

Challenge Area

This challenge will focus on Defence’s ability to leverage EMS technologies and capabilities that provide a competitive advantage to EM targeting, and those that protect Defence from adversary EM targeting capabilities. The six key elements of the targeting cycle that Defence is interested in improving through development and transition of innovative technologies are;

  1. Find: Identify a target using the EMS.
  2. Fix: Identify a target’s location using the EMS.
  3. Track: Monitor a target’s movement using the EMS.
  4. Target: Select and apply appropriate EMS assets and/or EMS enabled weapon systems.
  5. Engage: Apply EMS assets and enabled weapons to a target.
  6. Assess: Evaluate effects of an attack using the EMS.

To enable industry to focus resources and efforts on capabilities that are likely to have the greatest impact and potential for success, Defence has identified technologies for application within the targeting cycle for industry consideration. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Sensors: The ability to increase the quantity and/or quality of sensors in the operating environment that can identify, locate, and monitor targets, and assess any effects delivered against them. To enable Find, Fix, Track, and Assess phases.
  • Closed loop targeting: The ability to employ existing EW sensor data and pre-determined mission parameters to cue and engage effectors at machine speed.
    To enable Target and Engage phases.
  • Electronic Attack: The ability to disrupt, degrade and deny adversary Command, Control, Communication and Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and EW (C4ISREW) systems, and EMS enabled weapons systems. To enable all aspects of the targeting cycle.
  • EMS access: The ability to understand, identify and auto-allocate the EMS, dynamically access the EMS for resilience, stealth and reducing spectrum conflicts against agile adversaries. To enable Find, Fix, Track, Target, Engage, and Assess phases.
  • EMS Deception & Denial: EM deception and/or denial to prevent adversaries finding, fixing, exploiting or understanding our emissions or true intent to enable blue force projection and blue force protection. To counter all aspects of the targeting cycle.

Responses to the challenge sit with each nation’s Defence innovation organisation(s). A key characteristic that Defence is seeking in both innovation proposals and industry partners actions is the ability to innovate and deliver at speed. The ability to orientate to the problem statement and rapidly iterate is of greater interest to Defence than the current TRL level of the capability.

Cabability Considerations

The following considerations will be used by Defence to determine proposal viability and inform decision-making processes. Proposals are not expected to meet all of these capability considerations; rather, these should be used by industry as a guide for proposal development. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Agility: Systems that are multi-spectral, distributed, high dynamic range, wide/multi band, coordinated, adaptive/cognitive, and real-time. These systems should have the ability to rapidly reprogram, share and update mission data.
  • Multi-function: Systems that can meet multiple areas of interest and multiple capability considerations.
  • Interoperability: Systems that employ common data standards, are flexible to Defence integration standards (including the potential to meet specific theatre entry standards), and can cooperate with existing data and systems.
  • Interchangeability: Systems that can be easily integrated and/or interchangeable with AUKUS partners.
  • Connectivity: Systems that can operate in a denied, degraded, intermittent and limited environment are preferable.
  • Cost imposition: Systems that are low-cost, easily manufactured, disposable/attritable and can distribute the delivery of effects, thereby reducing the risk of failure if targeted.
  • Sovereignty: Systems that are manufactured and sustainable domestically (or have the potential to be), and have a secure, resilient and reliable supply chain.
  • Range: Distances may vary from close-range to over-the-horizon, depending on the effect required. Regardless of range, systems should have an appropriate degree of protection to operate within proximity of adversaries.
  • Time: System speed and operational duration may vary depending on capability purpose and required effect. Consider speed as relative to the target the capability is effecting, and duration as relevant to mission considerations, such as travel time to close in on a desired target.
  • Autonomy: Systems that can reduce reliance on workforce (including human time cost and cognitive burden) and require limited training to operate.
  • Projection: Systems that can be easily projected from existing platforms and deployed into contested environments with minimal modification.
  • Domain: Systems can be employed in any of the physical domains (air, land, space, maritime [surface and sub-surface]), or across multiple domains.


DASA want novel ideas to benefit end-users working in UK Defence and Security. Your proposal should include evidence of:

  • theoretical development, method of advancement or proof of concept research and any practical demonstrations appropriate to the current TRL of the technology
  • innovation or a creative approach
  • clear demonstration of how the proposed work applies to military electronic warfare needs

What your proposal must include

In this competition we are seeking proposals that develop technology from TRL4/5/6 through to TRL 7, with a TRL 7 demonstration at the end of the contract. Your proposal must include the following:

  • the proposal must include an initial milestone of a costed report to be delivered as soon as possible after contract date. This will be shared trilaterally with the use of an appropriate Memorandum of Understanding. It will also be used in the early identification of potential exploitation routes. This should include an initial practical de-risking of the technology; a detailed development roadmap (including technical risk); a plan to trial in a representative environment; an exploration of the exploitation plan and operational advantage that would be delivered; the advantage to UK sovereign capability
  • the proposal should focus on the competition requirements but must also include a brief (uncosted) outline of the next stages of work required for exploitation
  • when submitting a proposal, you must complete all sections of the online form, including an appropriate level of technical information to allow assessment of the bid and a completed finances section
  • completed proposals must comply with the financial rules set for this competition. Proposals will be rejected if the financial cost exceeds this capped level
  • you must include a list of other current or recent government funding you may have received in this area if appropriate, making it clear how this proposal differs from this work
  • a project plan with clear milestones and deliverables must be provided. Deliverables must be well defined and designed to provide evidence of progress against the project plan and the end-point for this phase; they must include a first milestone report and a final report. Additionally, any slides created during the project will form part of the set of deliverables and will be subject to the terms and conditions of any order arising from the proposal
  • you should plan for attendance at a kick-off meeting at the start of the contract, a mid-project event and an end of project event at the end of the contract, as well as regular reviews with the appointed Technical Partner and Project Manager; all meetings will be in the UK. Meetings may also take place virtually. Any slides presented at these meetings need to be made available.
  • you should plan to carry out a TRL 7 demonstration at a location to be determined. Overseas travel costs should be factored into this milestone.
  • your proposal must demonstrate how you will complete all activities/services and provide all deliverables within the competition timescales (12 months). Proposals with any deliverables (including final report and TRL7 demonstration) outside the competition timeline will be rejected as non-compliant.

For further information, see here.


DASA are not interested in proposals that:

  • constitute consultancy, paper-based studies or literature reviews which just summarise the existing literature without any view of future innovation (which therefore cannot meet the AUKUS ambition to have delivered impactful solutions by 2025)
  • an unsolicited resubmission of a previous DASA bid
  • offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no experimental development (unless applied in a novel way to the challenge)
  • offer no real long-term prospect of integration into defence and security capabilities
  • offer no real prospect of out-competing existing technological solutions

Funding Costs

The total possible funding available for this competition is up to £1.92 million (excluding VAT). It is intended that multiple projects will be funded.

From this available funding, £150,000 will be shared between the successful suppliers for the first milestone report. This report will be used to aid early identification of suitable exploitation routes and will be shared trilaterally (under an appropriate memorandum of understanding) for awareness of UK projects. Please cost as a usual milestone report.