The INSIDER daily digest -- Nov. 17, 2021

By Thomas Duffy / November 17, 2021 at 1:15 PM

This mid-week INSIDER Daily Digest leads off with news from the Australian ambassador to the United States, new plans from the Space Force, Navy artificial intelligence, analysis of the Chinese navy’s capabilities, and news on a commercial space broadband experiment.

Australia’s ambassador sees more technology opportunities with the U.S.:

Australia eyes more defense tech work with U.S. as sub deal enters 18-month study period

Australia’s ambassador to the United States, Arthur Sinodinos, said today Australia is interested in increasing cooperation with the United States and the U.K. on emerging defense technologies like artificial intelligence and believes weapon system partnerships will be accelerated by a new Indo-Pacific agreement between the nations that, among other things, allows Canberra access to sensitive U.S. nuclear submarine propulsion technology.

The Space Force is taking steps toward an on-orbit refueling capability:

Space Force eyeing on-orbit refueling as first foray into OSAM services; RFP expected ‘very soon’

The Space Force is making plans for a program aimed at developing a satellite purpose-built for on-orbit refueling -- a first step for the service in understanding how to leverage on-orbit servicing and logistics capabilities.

Artificial intelligence will likely play a part in improving Navy shipyards:

Moran: AI to play crucial role in shipyard optimization

Artificial intelligence will play a key role in improving shipyards for the Navy, a retired service official said today.

The Navy’s 20-year, $21 billion Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program is not just about building and construction, said retired Adm. Bill Moran, former vice chief of Naval Operations.

China’s navy is getting better but still lags behind the U.S.:

Chinese Navy narrowing capability gap with U.S., analysts say

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy is rapidly growing its fleet and improving its capabilities, according to a new Defense Department report, but analysts say the United States retains a sizable advantage at sea.

The Air Force carried out a commercial space broadband experiment:

Hughes, OneWeb achieve IOC on AFRL commercial space broadband experiment at Thule AFB

An Air Force Research Laboratory experiment aimed at demonstrating managed low-Earth orbit satellite communications services in the Arctic region achieved initial operational capability last month and is eyeing full operational capability by January.