The US and Australia have signed an agreement to jointly develop and share a virtual cyber training range as the two countries seek to strengthen their partnership in cyberspace.

The bilateral agreement will enable the US Cyber Command to incorporate the Australian Defense Force’s (ADF) feedback into its simulated training domain called Persistent Cyber Training Environment (PCTE).

The PCTE, a component of the US military’s Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture, can support multiple independent cyber operations training activities simultaneously.

The shared development of the domain is expected to hone personnel readiness in cyberspace, associated techniques and procedures.

US Army deputy assistant secretary for defence exports and cooperation Elizabeth Wilson said: “This project arrangement is a milestone for US-Australian cooperation. It is the first cyber-only arrangement established between the US Army and an allied nation, which highlights the value of Australia’s partnership in the simulated training domain.

“To counter known and potential adversarial threats, the army has recalibrated our strategic thinking; we’ve made smart decisions to refocus our efforts to invest in the new, emerging and smart technologies that will strengthen our ability to fight and win our nation’s wars.”

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Australian Army major general Marcus Thompson said: “Australia and the US have a strong history of working together to develop our cyber capabilities and train our people to fight and win in cyberspace.

“This arrangement will be an important part of the ADF’s training programme, and we look forward to the mutual benefits it will bring.”

Recently, the US State Department approved the possible foreign military sale of 155mm ammunition and accessories to Australia. The deal is estimated to cost around $132.2m.