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RAAF and Defence collaborate on drone detector

written by Adam Thorn | June 25, 2021
Air Warfare Centre science and technology adviser Ant Perry, left, and Air Warfare Engineering Squadron avionics technician Corporal Stanislaw Filipek inspect the Windtalker drone detection system at DSTG Edinburgh. (Defence/Leading Aircraftman Sam Price)

The unique collaboration between the RAAF and the government agency responsible for providing tech support to Defence has led to the creation of a new device to detect drone threats.

The Windtalker UAV detection system uses “stimulated algorithms” to reveal unmanned threats and was built by both the Air Warfare Centre (AWC) and the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG).

Ant Perry, who was recently appointed as an adviser to the AWC, noted the importance of the new technology, given risks associated with the misuse of UAVs.

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“It is a great privilege to take on the role here at the Air Warfare Centre and be able to contribute to some really worthwhile projects,” Perry said.

“Unmanned aerial system misuse can cause safety issues and security concerns for the Australian Defence Force and the Windtalker drone sensor detection system provides users a common operating picture of the airspace.”

The Windtalker incorporates the additional functionality of an ADS-B receiver, enabling users to track the flight path of ADS-B-equipped aircraft within range of the sensor.

“The Windtalker system is evidence of the win-win DSTG and RAAF partnership,” Perry added.

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The joint development of the system follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between DSTG and the AWC in late 2019.

DSTG leader, electronic fabrication Gordon Sherlock reflected on the success of the ongoing relationship between the organisations.

“The staff at the Air Warfare Centre are renowned for their professionalism, skills, knowledge and technical ability,” he said.

“I have seen first-hand how the AWC avionics technicians have brought transferrable skills to the team and how the Air Force’s robust training continuum complements the wide array of tasks required to be performed at DSTG.”

Corporal Stan Filipek, who helps facilitate the manufacture of technical componentry and assembly of electronic components, added, “It has been exciting to be a part of the partnership between the two agencies.

“I like to think of the Windtalker project as a representation of the fruits of our labour.”

The AWC, which is a division of the Air Command, aims to establish modern and fully integrated combat capability.

The AWC’s workforce includes Air Force, Army, Navy, Australian Public Service and defence industry personnel.

The Defence Science and Technology Group, meanwhile, is the agency in Defence dedicated to providing science and technology.

DSTG brings together “interdisciplinary expertise” from across the country and world to address national security challenges.

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