Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, joined by Raytheon Australian managing director Michael Ward and chairman and chief executive of Raytheon Dr Thomas Kennedy, opened the CEC at Raytheon Australia's Canberra headquarters.
The new centre's CAVE leverages virtual reality technology within a structure consisting of 72 large video screens positioned in a 320 degree arrangement. The CAVE utilises stereoscopic projection and 3D computer graphics and can be linked to similar facilities in the US, allowing real time collaboration across international teams.
Through CAVE, Australia's ability to collaborate with the US has been enhanced, along with defence's engagement with suppliers, according to Minister Pyne.
"By linking this CAVE to similar facilities in the United States, there will be new opportunities for real time collaboration between Australian and US teams," the minister said.
"The technology will be used for a range of purposes, including facility design and layout; virtual integration; design reviews; Defence and supplier engagement, training, operational analysis and simulation; as well as the promotion of STEM education."
CAVE technology can utilise a 3D scan of a warship’s command centre lay out and allow for the optimal placement of equipment and cabling without building mock ups to demonstrate concepts. Through this technology, Defence officials could walk through a 3D virtual mock-up of a layout prior to procuring any physical equipment, therefore limiting any risk of expensive rework and design change. Raytheon said this technology also extends to modelling manufacturing facilities to improve quality and manufacturing speed by focusing on building layout, material flow and automation.
Raytheon Australia's MD said the new centre will also lead to better collaboration between the company, Defence and SMEs.
"The Customer Engagement Centre brings defence technology to life for customers and engineers in ways never before possible through cutting-edge virtual reality,” said Ward.
"As the nation’s leading integrator of mission systems, we will utilise this centre to create opportunities for innovation and collaboration with Defence and our supplier partners."
The new facility will also be used for a range of defence related engineering tasks, including:
- 3D scans of a warship’s command centre – this enables optimised placement of equipment and cabling. Defence officials will be able to walk through a 3D virtual mock-up of a layout prior to procuring physical equipment, limiting risk associated with rework and design changes; and
- Sophisticated modelling of manufacturing facilities – this will improve quality and production speed by enhancing building layout design, material flow and automation.
Minister Pyne added with the technology now available through the innovative centre, Defence will save both time and money on future combat information centres.
"I can see the CAVE’s potential in designing the next combat information centre for the Air Warfare Destroyer without the need for mock-ups, expensive rework or design change," said Minister Pyne.
"With this technology, Raytheon can now engage local suppliers. Raytheon’s industry partners will be able to use a portable version of the CAVE in their own location and interact in a 3D environment and is a great way of involving Australian firms.
"Innovation and investment in technology such as this will offer new opportunities to engage with Australian industry and grow our sovereign defence capability."
In addition to the Raytheon Australia CAVE facility in its Canberra headquarters, a smaller, portable version of this capability will allow interaction between Raytheon and its small business suppliers.
Raytheon Australia CAVE capability.
Raytheon Australia CAVE opening video.