A South Australian university will play a key role in supporting BAE Systems’ upgrade to the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN).
The $1.2 billion contract awarded to BAE Systems will see Australia's over-the-horizon radar network, which is critical to safeguarding Australia, upgraded by over 500 technicians and engineers, with work focused on improving radar and frequency management system hardware, information and communication technology hardware, the upgrade of software architecture and processing, as well as other specialised optional enhancements.
The University of Adelaide will work with BAE Systems and the defence sector, undertaking research on the upgrade and future development of JORN, including surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
The University of Adelaide's vice-chancellor and president, Professor Peter Rathjen, said the partnership will not only support the upgrade to the crucial radar network, but will also support students in STEM fields.
"The University of Adelaide is proud to build on its outstanding defence track record, in partnership with BAE Systems and the defence sector, in support of this critical project for Australia," said Professor Rathjen.
"The commitment by BAE Systems to contribute up to $10 million to support the creation of new defence-focused courses and targeted research and development, as well as scholarships and industry placements, will be a winning initiative for STEM students and our graduates.
"Such an investment in skilled graduates and innovation, with a direct partnership between the University of Adelaide and industry, is vital to underpin advancement in defence and our economy."
The University's deputy vice-chancellor (research), Professor Mike Brooks, added that this partnership is not the first between BAE Systems and the university.
"We are a foundation partner in the BAE Systems’ Joint Open Innovation Network (JOIN), which will now support 60 graduate positions and will establish an Innovation Laboratory at the University of Adelaide – a facility that enables industry and the University to work together to advance defence technologies," said Professor Brooks.
"The BAE Systems JOIN Engineering Scholarship was also introduced at the University of Adelaide last year to support and encourage STEM studies and interest in defence as a career. This is a field of research and education that will remain vital to the future prosperity of the state and the nation, and one that benefits greatly from a strong alliance with both government and industry."
The University of Adelaide is also pursuing other opportunities within Australia's defence sector, including researching the human machine interface used by JORN operators, undertaking a $4.5 million contract to develop the world’s most precise clock – the Sapphire Clock – to enhance precision timing and JORN's target detection, and introducing a new defence major in 2019 across a range of engineering degree programs.
The University's Defence Research and Innovation Network, established last year, will also see researchers from Defence Science and Technology Group and industry working on campus alongside university staff and students.