Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne welcomed the signing of an innovation collaboration agreement between Minelab Electronics and the Department of Defence today.
The collaboration will deliver a production-ready prototype of a new Counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Handheld Detector for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
“This is a perfect example of leveraging world class engineering from an Australian enterprise to produce the lightest, most compact, and most capable ground search device available anywhere,” Minister Pyne said.
Minelab has been working with Defence since 2014 to develop a prototype handheld detector that would meet the need for a smaller, lighter device that would improve the quality and speed of detecting explosive devices.
Minister Pyne stressed the importance of investing in Australian industry.
“Capability that will significantly reduce the risk of ADF casualties in the field is a powerful reminder of the need to continue growing our local defence industry,” he said.
Designed to detect explosive ordnance and improvised explosive devices, the device will allow high risk search and route clearance activities to be completed faster and with greater confidence.
Following successful completion of test and evaluation activities, the Government has committed funding of $6.7 million to enable Minelab to further develop this technology.
Minelab general manager Peter Charlesworth said the collaboration recognises the exceptional co-operation between Defence’s Rapid Prototyping Development and Evaluation (RPDE) program and Minelab.
“This collaboration not only provides meaningful support to Australian industry but will ultimately strengthen Minelab’s export opportunities and global market growth,” he said.
The 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement outlined key initiatives to strengthen the Defence and industry relationship.
“I look forward to more of these exciting and important collaborations as we harness the innovation potential of Australia’s defence industry through the new Defence Innovation Hub,” Minister Pyne said.
Later this year, the government will launch the Defence Innovation Hub, which brings together existing Defence innovation programs such as RPDE to deliver a streamlined and agile approach to Defence investment in innovation.