Manufacturing News

Best of the week — the five most popular stories among readers, January 15 – 19, 2024

Manufacturing News

What were the five biggest stories of the week? Here’s what visitors to this site were reading.

5) Ukraine war propels DroneShield to new records

War brings no good to anyone but a few military contractors which boom during times of rising tensions – none more so than drone detection and countermeasure manufacturer DroneShield, writes Peter Roberts.

To say that the company is in the right place at the right time to prosper from technological change is a massive understatement – it operates exactly in a sweet spot in the field of drones whose use is envoling as we watch on the battlefields of Ukraine, as well as being used in Hamas attacks on Israel.

4) Silex Systems in the running to enrich uranium for Small Modular Reactors

Sydney based Silex Systems is to compete in the United States to produce High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU) – a higher grade of nuclear fuel that will be required to fuel next generation advanced reactors, including Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

The company announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had released the Request for Proposal (RFP) for acquisition of HALEU fuels, a move for which Silex has been preparing for over a decade.

The company has a sales agreement with the DOE to allow it to process stockpiles of depleted nuclear fuels as part of its Paduach Project in Kentucky.

3) Federal government announces $70 million for Bell Bay through Regional Hydrogen Hubs program

The federal government has announced that it will spend $70 million towards development of Tasmania’s Bell Bay hydrogen hub, which will create a claimed 45,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen a year and about 740 jobs, and be completed “by early 2028”.

According to a joint statement on Thursday morning from federal energy minister Chris Bowen and state energy minister Nick Duigan, the Tasmanian government will lead a group of partners on the project, including TasPorts, TasWater, TasIrrigation, the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone, and TasNetworks, to deliver the project.

The project is scheduled to begin this year and its total value was given as $300 million.

2) Defence, Lockheed sign $37.4 million contract ahead of GMLRS missile manufacturing next year

A $37.4 million contract has been signed between Defence and Lockheed Martin Australia, paving the way for domestic manufacture of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles from 2025.

In a statement on Tuesday morning, defence said the contract would facilitate technology and skills transfer from the United States and enable an initial batch of missiles to be made – “an important first step towards establishing domestic missile manufacturing on a larger scale.”

The federal government plans to increase local output in 2026 following initial production of GMLRS missiles.

1) Joint Australia-US defence work ramps up

Deepening technological involvement between the three AUKUS partner nations is a key aim of the AUKUS pact with joint work between Australia and the United States escalating over summer, writes Peter Roberts.

Work is underway between the two nations on at least three areas – submarine development, hypersonics and the development of autonomous vehicle systems for defence use.

Australia and the US have worked together on hypersonic research for at least 15 years, in 2017 completing the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation, or HiFiRE programme (pictured) which involved a series of flight tests at speeds above Mach 5.

And in case you missed our podcast…

In episode 79 of @AuManufacturing Conversation with Brent Balinski, we heard from EMVision CEO Scott Kirkland about a homegrown answer to the second-biggest killer in the world.

And in episode 80, Dr Mobin Nomvar of Scimita Ventures tells us about how to turn risks into realistic milestones, focussing projects on a commercial outcome, why his work once required him to breed bedbugs, and more.

Picture: HiFiRE (credit University of Queensland)

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