As North Korea continues its threats with intercontinental ballistic missiles, a new research agreement with defence industry has been signed to explore new technologies for protecting Australian Defence Force aircraft against missile threats.
Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group and Victorian company Chemring Australia signed a five-year agreement today, which will see the two groups explore deployed countermeasures to protect defence aircraft.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said the agreement will enhance Australia's Defence capabilities and will also explore manufacturing technologies.
"Chemring Australia and DST Group will explore capabilities and advanced techniques for the manufacture of high performance countermeasures that hide aircraft from radar detection and deflect heat-seeking missiles," Minister Pyne said.
"The research will also examine the use of more efficient manufacturing technologies, such as resonant acoustic mixing, and novel concepts for pyrotechnic device.
"This partnership will allow the development of an advanced flare capability to provide protection against increasingly sophisticated missile systems.
"I welcome these agreements which are designed to give Defence a capability edge. Chemring Australia specialises in the manufacture of countermeasures, sensors, and energetic systems."
The agreement was signed at DST Group's Partnerships Week in Adelaide, an annual external engagement event open to invited representatives from industry, academia, research agencies, defence and stakeholders from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community.
Chemring Australia, part of the global Chemring Group, is a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of high quality energetic materials and products for the defence and safety markets, primarily in the Australian and New Zealand markets.
In September last year, Chemring Australia signed a contract valued at $18 million to supply backpack electronic surveillance systems to Australian soldiers.
Most notably, Chemring Australia also supplies flares for the Joint Strike Fighter F-35 project and Lockheed Martin's C-130J Hercules aircraft.
Former prime ministers Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd have both called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to implement missile defence systems to protect Australia from North Korea's missile threats.
Malcolm Turnbull last week told 3AW radio he had received advice from the Department of Defence that installing a missile protection system, such as a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system would not help Australia protect itself.
"What we are doing is constantly reviewing our position," the prime minister said.
"Now, as far as a missile defence system, the current advice from Defence to the government is that they do not consider there is a benefit to deploy a system such as the THAAD system - that is Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, a bit of a mouthful - for the defence of Australian territory.
"And the reason for that is that THAAD is designed to provide protection for relatively small areas against short to intermediate range missiles. So, it is deployed in Israel. It is deployed in South Korea. And it is not designed to provide protection against long range intercontinental ballistic missiles of the sort North Korea has recently tested."