Key industry groups have expressed their support and commitment to the recently announced Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF).
The $730 million fund was unveiled last week by Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne to help create 'super troops', provide the creative solutions Defence needs and, at the same time, benefit Australian industry.
The investment comes through the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group.
Chief executive of Australian Industry Group Innes Willox praised the new fund for its advanced approach to war-fighting solutions.
"The Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne has kick-started a new era in encouraging industry to offer innovative solutions to protect Australian Defence Force lives in war-fighting situations," said Willox.
"The first challenge identified by Defence aims to address Counter Improvised Threats, those which ADF personnel face on a daily basis in high-risk environments.
"Defence Science and Technology Group has identified nine technology areas for support in the Next Generation Technologies Fund including cyber security, integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and hypersonics, domains of direct relevance to expertise within Australian defence industry. The fund offers opportunities for agile, smart companies to contribute to the long-term health of the ADF."
CEO of multinational defence company subsidiary BAE Systems Australia Glynn Phillips commended the fund, emphasising the importance this fund and new technology will have for defence, as well as economic growth.
"We are working to provide leading edge capabilities in a way that increases the skills of the domestic workforce and ensures sovereign control over those technologies that we advance," Phillips said.
"We have an opportunity to utilise new technology to deliver increased capability and to do so in a way that benefits the entire nation.
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"We look forward to continuing to work with DST Group on conducting world-leading collaborative research in defence technologies.
"BAE Systems Australia and DST Group have worked together for over 30 years developing and advancing technologies that are now a staple of the Australian Defence Force.
"Over the past five years we have invested $260 million in Australia on research and development, over four times more per employee than the rest of the Australian economy."
There are nine technology areas included in the research fund:
- cyber security;
- space capabilities;
- quantum technologies;
- trusted autonomous systems;
- enhanced human performance;
- medical countermeasures;
- multi-disciplinary material sciences;
- integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and
- advanced sensors, hypersonics and directed energy capabilities.
At the launch of the fund, Minister Pyne said the NGTF would also establish Defence Cooperative Research Centres, university research networks, a Defence research accelerator scheme, an innovation research initiative for small business and expanded technology foresighting activities.