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Innovation is Key to Boosting South Australia’s Defence Sector

Innovation for Boosting South Australia Defence Sector

The University of South Australia (UniSA) has secured two out of four grants designed to boost South Australia’s defence industry capability and help solve some of the real challenges facing the defence sector.

This will be achieved by applying new research knowledge and innovation as well as with a working partnership with industry.

As reported, the successful projects were announced in the latest round of the South Australian Defence Innovation Partnership Cooperative Research Grants and will each receive AU$ 150,000.

The successful projects are the Narrative Visualisation of Simulations for Force Design and the Optimal Target Detection for Marine Radars Using Waveform Diversity.

The University’s Director Defence and Space, Matt Opie, shared that the results are a strong endorsement of their defence research expertise.

The University undertakes world-class research in virtual reality systems, which are led by some of the leading experts in the field.

Moreover, their signals processing research expertise dates back 40 years, giving them the capacity to deliver the Australian Defence Force critical advanced capability.

About the Initiative

Narrative visualisation is a relatively new field that brings data to life both qualitatively and by presenting a visual story about meaningful trends that can be rapidly understood and acted upon.

The process reveals trends, casual relationships and decisive events and has the potential to be applied in real-time combat situations to ensure better and more informed decision-making.

Director of the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments, Professor Bruce Thomas, explained that this will provide defence analysts with the capability to explore and analyse information as well as quickly make sense of what can otherwise be an overwhelming amount of data.

Meanwhile, the optimal target detection for marine radars project will allow researchers to address the challenge of what is known as ‘sea clutter’.

It is the interference that waves on the ocean’s surface cause to the detection of targets on or above the sea surface, particularly an issue for small targets.

The University’s Associate Head of Engineering Research and Innovation shared that this important research will advance high-performance navigation radar systems for future marine platforms,

This can be used by both the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air force.

Additionally, UniSA researchers will also contribute to a project to devise conducting carbon coatings for naval vessels to deter marine creature growth on vessels and the development of a large-scale submarine model, which will allow for simulator-based training for next-generation submarines.

Partnership is Key

Industry partners for all of the projects will provide a vital pathway for the commercialisation of the research outcomes and the transfer of technology.

The University is a foundation member of the Defence Innovation Partnership, designed to generate defence-related research and development activity in South Australia between industry, universities and government.

It also boasts one of the longest-running formal relationships with the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group of any Australian university.

Other Defence Initiatives

In another part of Australia, a Defence Science Centre is set to lead Western Australia to the forefront of cutting edge science and innovation.

Several parties were involved in its creation including the Defence West, the Defence Science Technology Group of the Department of Defence, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University (ECU), Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia.

The Indian government, meanwhile, is keen on developing defence tech by supporting start-ups and by developing international pacts.

India’s Minister of State for Defence said that the government had launched Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework in 2018 to achieve self-reliance and to foster innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace sector.

They are working closely with MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, research and defence institutes and academia.

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