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Australian Defence Innovation Hub contracts to explore underwater acoustic sensors, virtual reality based training

The Australian Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP today announced five Defence Innovation Hub innovation contracts totalling AU$5.9 million. (The second tranche of contracts worth AU$12.3 million was awarded in July 2017.)

This includes an AU$2.9 million contract for L3 Oceania from Western Australia for exploring the development an underwater acoustic sensor that could provide significant benefits within the ADF maritime domain.

New South Wales based University of Newcastle (NSW) is receiving an innovation contract worth AU2.2 million to explore the development of enhanced resilience training for ADF personnel through a set of virtual reality based training sessions involving controlled exposure to adverse environments.

Other contracts have been awarded to Agent Oriented Software from Victoria (for AU$378,000) to explore the concept of an autonomous teamed intelligent software agent capability resilient to cyber-attacks.

Explosive Protective Equipment (AU$242,000) from Queensland will explore the integration of a Cobham Amulet Ground Penetrating Radar into an existing unmanned ground vehicle for detection of improvised explosive devices. While Griffith University (QLD) will explore the development of a portable device that enables real-time detection of airborne biological threats, such as fungi spores, viruses and bacteria.

Minister Pyne said this investment demonstrated the government’s commitment to supporting local Defence industry while developing new capabilities.

“These investments will drive growth in defence industry and innovation whilst focusing on the capability needs required to ensure Australia’s national security now and into the future,” Minister Pyne said.

He added, “I look forward to seeing more of these valuable and exciting ideas as we harness the innovation potential of Australia’s defence industry through the Defence Innovation Hub.”

Minister Pyne said the Defence Innovation Hub has received a strong interest since its launch in December 2016, and has invested around AU$20 million to industry and research organisations across the nation to mature and further develop defence technologies.  

The Defence Innovation Hub was established in December 2016 to facilitate and nurture the development of innovative technology and ideas in support of defence capability.

The Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) and the Defence Innovation Hub form the core of a new integrated defence innovation system for Australia, as outlined in the Government’s Defence Industry Policy Statement. A number of Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) are being set up under the NGTF. NGTF has been allocated an investment of around AU$730 million till June 2026, while the Defence Innovation Hub will receive around AU$640 million over the decade to FY 2025–26.  

In September, the Government’s investment priorities for the Defence Innovation Hub for the 2017-18 financial year were set out. The top three priorities for investment in the 2017–18 financial year in priority order are:

Priority 1: Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare, Space and Cyber

Priority 2: Key Enablers (include critical infrastructure (such as bases, training ranges, ports and airfields), information and communications technology, logistics, science and technology, health services, and future energy resilience (including national and Defence fuel management)

Priority 3: Land Combat and Amphibious Warfare

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