Air Force to unearth new tech businesses to drive transformation

Nanotechnology to aid Air Force
Nanotechnology to aid Air Force - Image by Lockheed Martin

High-end technology companies and academics have been encouraged to work with the Royal Australian Air Force. Plan Jericho director Group Captain Pete Mitchell explained to Defence Connect the types of advanced technologies he is excited to explore.

As the RAAF transitions itself into a highly integrated, networked, 5th generation force, attracting companies that are developing innovative technologies who may not have been involved with Defence previously is vital.

"It's critical," says GPCAPT Mitchell. "We see that a lot of the areas where advanced technology is starting to develop is perhaps non-traditional military technology.

"We talk about big data, data mining, data analytics; there's an application across the resource and finance sector, they could actually potentially have the opportunity to come and have a look at some of our challenges regarding big data and data analytics.

"We look at nanotechnology, about miniaturisation in the application - there might be a commercial application for that, but ... there's certainly military applications as well.

"Non-traditional defence industry, looking at being able to see where the next technology advantage is and innovative thought on how we might apply that to a military context or problem, is critical and there are a number of others."

GPCAPT Mitchell told Defence Connect that he was extremely optimistic about the technology coming out of Australian SMEs and universities.

The Centre for Defence Industry Capability and Innovation Hub are set to launch within weeks and will go a long way to attracting non-traditional defence companies.

"I think that will be really critical to see how that steps off here shortly, and certainly Air Force's role is in supporting people to go through that innovation process," says GPCAPT Mitchell.

"It's not just the hub's responsibility to reach out and try and call for nominations or what not. It's also Air Force's role, obviously, to try and guide people towards that and then sponsor them through that process.

"We have a look at the development of 3D printing or quantum computing and those sort of concepts which, how do they apply to a military context?

"We're very excited about those technologies; data visualisation and the like."

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