The winners include a Melbourne company that, with the government’s Defence Science and Technology Group, has become the prime contractor for corrosion management on the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet; a Brisbane company that has adapted CSIRO research to link a technician working on an aircraft with an expert a continent away using virtual reality and Wi-Fi; and a young researcher who has been conducting groundbreaking multi-national research into repairing carbon-fibre composite aircraft structures.
The winners, who were presented the awards by chairman of Aerospace Australia Limited, Air Marshal (retired) Geoff Shepherd AO, are:
- Defence Industry National Innovation Award: BAE Systems Australia and DST Group;
- Civil Industry National Innovation Award: TAE Gas Turbines Limited;
- Civil SME Innovation Grant: Thomas Global Systems; and
- Young Innovator Scholarship for Civil Industry: Jarrod Hayes-Griss, Advanced Composite Structures
Australia and RMIT University.
The Defence Industry National Innovation Award, won by BAE Systems Australia (BAES Australia) and DST Group for their Environmental Degradation Monitoring and Prognostics (EDMAP) system, was chosen by the judges for its critical step towards the goal of a 'self-diagnosing structure'. EDMAP is a corrosion management model that combines advanced prognostic algorithms developed using the new generation of paint primers along with on-aircraft and off-aircraft corrosion sensors and an innovative visual inspection regime. BAES Australia has been selected by the US government and Lockheed Martin to supply corrosion management technology for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program.
The Civil Industry National Innovation Award went to TAE Gas Turbines Australia Pty Limited for its Fountx wearable technology. The Fountx system employs modern IT and communications technology to reduce the cost of aircraft and engine maintenance by enabling a technician to work directly with an expert who may be in the next room or a continent away.
The Civil SME Innovation Grant was awarded to Thomas Global Systems for its TFD-8601 Liquid Crystal Display. The TFD-8601 represents an innovative, Australian-developed, cost effective, “plug and play” LCD upgrade for aircraft with legacy cathode ray tube instruments.
The Young Innovator Scholarship for Civil Industry was awarded to Jarrod Hayes-Griss of Advanced Composite Structures Australia for his Ph.D research at RMIT University. His ground breaking research examines environmental effects on the mechanics of bonded composite repairs and joints in aerospace structures, important research aspect because aircraft are increasingly made of advanced composite materials and safety regulators need to know how to predict failure and then specify and certify repairs when these materials get damaged.
CEO of Avalon Airshow 2017 Ian Honnery said, "Although highly prestigious awards for excellence in engineering, industrial design and business already exist, ours were the first – and as far as we’re aware remain the only – national awards to recognise and reward the efforts and achievements of innovative Australian companies and individuals in the aerospace industry."
Honnery also added that "our purpose as a foundation is to promote the development of Australia’s industry capacity in the fields of aerospace, defence, maritime and IT so we’re putting our money – literally – where our mouth is. The fact that the awards have been won by such high-quality candidates speaks for the quality of the individuals,
companies and organisations making up Australia’s civil and military aerospace industry".
Each winner was presented with engraved glass boomerangs, symbolising the inventiveness of Australia’s first peoples and their unique contribution to aeronautical history. The boomerangs were designed and made by Wathaurong Glass Arts, an Indigenous-owned and managed co-operative in Geelong.