The government will invest $7.8 million in promising ideas that could provide the Australian Defence Force with new and enhanced capabilities.
“This government is continuing to develop a robust Australian defence industry that is innovative, sustainable and globally competitive,” the minister said.
Under the latest round of contracts, Codarra Advanced Systems was awarded a $1.5 million contract to further develop a lightweight, hand-held prototype device capable of detecting and countering unmanned aerial system threats.
If successful, the device could provide the ADF with the ability to both detect and counter unmanned aerial system threats from a single, lightweight device.
The contract with Codarra will create additional jobs at the company’s Queanbeyan facility and add to Codarra’s electronic and cyber security capability.
Melbourne-based MEMKO Aviation Aerospace and Defence was awarded a $4.1 million contract to develop a miniaturised electronic warfare payload capable of high‑fidelity live fire testing.
A further $282,000 was awarded to Sydney-based AMSL Aero to develop an autonomous, vertical take-off and landing aircraft for battlefield casualty evacuation and logistics support.
Minister Pyne said the Australian government was committed to growing the capability and capacity of the Australian industry and innovation sector by removing barriers to doing business with Defence.
“Embracing new technologies and innovation is an essential part of modernising our Australian Defence Force and in ensuring they are equipped with cutting-edge technology today and into the future.”
The Defence Innovation Hub arose out the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement, with investment of around $640 million out to 2025-26 in maturing and further developing technologies with a defence application.
Technologies of interest have moved from the early science stages into the engineering and development stages of the innovation process.
Earlier this month, Minister Pyne announced an updated list of priorities for innovation hub investment.
Heading the list is intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, space and cyber – capabilities regarded as critical to maintaining ADF decision-making superiority and ability to conduct operations safely and effectively.
That’s followed by key enablers, such as quantum technologies, IT automation, machine learning/cognitive computing, cloud adoption, alternative navigation and positioning, and rapid manufacture.
Third is land combat, amphibious warfare and special operations, with a focus on potential special operations capabilities, enhanced human performance, robotics and autonomous systems.
Industry and research organisations can submit proposals through the Defence Innovation Portal.