Veteran owned and operated Australian company EPE has confirmed that its $1.4 million Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Grant will deliver MILTECS, a Military Test, Evaluation, Certification and Systems Assurance facility in Australia, assisting Defence industry to ensure the capabilities provided today are future proofed to emerging threats.
The announcement comes as the company was awarded a Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority (SICP) Grant by the Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price earlier this week, forming part of the federal government’s commitment to supporting Australian defence SMEs.
According to EPE, the SICP project will support the development of enhanced unmanned ground vehicles, as well as a training area and a supplementary CBRNe Sensor Test and Assurance Laboratory.
The company’s Military Test, Evaluation, Certification and Systems Assurance (MILTECS) facility will be situated across two sites, one in Brisbane and the other in Toowoomba.
According to the company, it is hoped that the new MILTECS facility will support Australia’s sovereign capability in the following areas:
- Enhance EPE’s Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) compliance levels
- CIED Detection and Mounted and Dismounted Training Lanes Proving Centre
- Unmanned Systems Proving Centre
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Tools Proving Centre
- CBRNe Sensor Test Laboratory
- Unmanned Systems Platform Integration and Testing
- CBRNe Sensor Library Development
Warwick Penrose, managing director of EPE, explained that the needs of Defence are rapidly changing as Australia strives to achieve greater sovereign industrial capability.
“What Defence needs from its Defence Industry Partners is changing. We need to be more adaptive, innovative and self-reliant. We need to generate tangible capabilities more quickly to ensure Defence maintains its competitive advantages in a rapidly changing Indo-Pacific security environment,” Penrose said.
“EPE’s clear eyed approach to meeting these needs, is to invest in our MILTECs Proving Centres and Test Labs on green field sites to expand Australia’s overall capacity to innovate, test, prove and validate response robotics, counter-IED and CBRN capabilities. Our Response Robotics NIST Test Apparatus within the Unmanned Systems Proving Centre and the EOD Tools Weapon’s Proving Centre are some of the first in Australia.
“Our investment in MILTECs is mirrored by our growing relationships with our Research partners such as QUT and DSTG. Our future focus is to ensure the capabilities we provide today are future proofed to emerging threats. Our plans have been years in their development, and we’re very thankful for the support of the Australian Defence Force to enable EPE to develop this type of capacity in a measured and assured way.”
EPE has developed some 180 specialist robots for use in counter explosives and CBRNe operations.