Truly sovereign T&E defence capability critical to deliver safe, fit-for-purpose equipment for our armed forces

 Truly sovereign T&E defence capability critical to deliver safe, fit-for-purpose equipment for our armed forces

Test and Evaluation (T&E) ensures our service men and women are safe and their equipment is fit for purpose. But what is T&E and why is it so critical? Nova Systems’ test and evaluation capability lead Tim Grabert unpacks this topic …

Test and Evaluation (T&E) ensures our service men and women are safe and their equipment is fit for purpose. But what is T&E and why is it so critical? Nova Systems’ test and evaluation capability lead Tim Grabert unpacks this topic …

As technology is now entwined in every aspect of our daily lives, the ability to ensure that the systems and platforms we rely upon are safe, effective, efficient, and ethically sound is becoming ever more paramount. Consequently, the test and  evaluation of complex systems is now a key enabler of our modern lives – even if we don’t know it.  

Ironically, if test and evaluation is done well, it becomes largely invisible to the consumer as it prevents negative outcomes from faulty technology and platforms from ever occurring. 

However, if test and evaluation is done poorly, or simply outsourced to some overseas entity to do on our behalf, the consequences for Australians can be catastrophic. 

T&E is a rigorous process to ensure any platform or system is safe and reliable and fit for purpose.  

Our armed forces – and our nation - deserve nothing less than the finest military capability – settling for untested and unproven equipment is simply unacceptable.  

In the context of national security, a robust sovereign test and evaluation capability is our best means of ensuring our service men and women have the capability they need, delivered at the speed of relevance (to quote 26th US Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis) that works as it should to keep both themselves and our nation safe and  secure.  

So crucial, the Government recognised Test and Evaluation, Certification and Systems Assurance T&ECSA as one of its 10 defined Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities (SICPs). 

That’s why the test and evaluation of military systems and platforms must be rigorous, and delivered by Australians for Australians, under the control of  Australians. This critical work is Nova System’ specialty. 

Why is having a sovereign test and evaluation capability so important?  

Rapid changes in the global security environment, coupled with disrupted global supply chains has highlighted a need for sovereign defence capability to ensure Australia can stand on its own two feet both now and in the future.  

Our nation’s ever-changing strategic environment requires defence to possess increasingly sophisticated capabilities; the types of capabilities that can only be provided by complex systems-of-systems seamlessly integrated into a joint force. 

As a nation, we can't be a “smart buyer” if we are unable to determine whether the capabilities we develop or acquire meet our stated needs.

T&E is Nova Systems’ bread and butter. It forms the foundation of our business and  is what we are known for, and it’s a capability we continue to be at the forefront of with new integrated digital methods, and as a provider of highly specialist T&E  practitioner training. Nova Systems is constantly investing in T&E tools, processes, personal and training to ensure we continue to be at the forefront of this capability. 

As a 100 per cent Australian owned and controlled T&E provider, Nova Systems has  more than 20 years’ experience providing this capability to defence.  

We are fortunate to have some of the best engineering minds coupled with our community of veterans who know exactly what our service men and women need  because they’ve walked in their shoes. 

We believe there is a unique opportunity to have an Australian controlled SICP to  provide world-class sovereign T&E to defence – and we need to act now. 

T&ECSA is the only SICP that spans across all of the SICPs and all domains. T&ECSA is a horizontal SICP across all environments and the entire lifecycle from design to disposal. It gives significant insight into and influence over all other SICPs. 

It should be engaged at the highest level of sovereignty – national control of both demand and supply with the matter of sovereignty being the first threshold question: Australian controlled.  

To support the continued evolution of sovereign T&E capabilities, Nova Systems recently announced it would establish an Australian-first T&E Centre of Excellence. It  will bring together Defence, industry and academia to deliver mission engineering  expertise, synthetic methods for joint-force T&E and mission assurance, and  advanced T&E practitioner training focussing on emerging technology such as  artificial intelligence. 

This is a national initiative that will support the delivery of truly sovereign T&E  capability to the Australian Defence Force, resulting in the delivery of safe, fit-for purpose capability for our warfighters to deliver operational outcomes now and for  future generations.  

*Tim Grabert is the Test & Evaluation Capability Lead at Nova Systems and is an  experienced flight test engineer and systems engineering professional. He has previously served in the Australian Army in helicopter flight test and engineering  management roles and is now leading the implementation of the Nova Systems Test &  Evaluation Centre of Excellence.

 

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