SPEE3D chosen to participate in US Navy maintenance technology exercise

Metal additive manufacturing technology company SPEE3D has announced selection by the US Navy to participate in the upcoming maintenance technology exercise (MaintenX.)

Cellula Robotics developing autonomous submarine for the RAN

Canadian marine engineering firm Cellula Robotics has announced it is six months into a contract with Defence Cooperative Research Centre Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS) to develop the next generation of fuel cell powered, Extra-Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV). Funded by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and in collaboration with Australian sub-contractors, the company’s project SeaWolf…

20 more Bushmasters gifted to Ukraine

The Australian Government will send more armoured vehicles to Ukraine, this time comprising 14 M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and a further 20 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles (PMVs). The gift announced by defence minister Peter Dutton on the eve of the election follows 20 bushmasters valued at $50 million which have been airlifted to the…

Thomas Global Systems to supply tank trainer

Defence electronics contractor Thomas Global Systems will be Prime System Integrator for the Australian Army’s M1A2 Abrams battle tank Immersive Tactical Trainer (ITT). With Australia buying 75 M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBT), Thomas Global will establish a new advanced manufacturing facility in Newington, NSW, to deliver 16 Immersive Tactical Trainers. Thomas Global Systems will…

Industry backing for large satellite manufacturing

A $71 million investment will go ahead to establish a genuinely Australian-owned Satellite Manufacturing Hub in New South Wales. The facility will be Australia’s first commercial hub for larger satellites up to 500kg in weight, able to carry advanced optical instruments, and focused on building Earth observation satellites. A collaborative venture with government and leading…

Austal could build modules for US, Australian nuclear submarines

By Peter Roberts Perth international shipbuilder Austal could build modules for future nuclear-powered submarines in a move to speed up construction of the US nuclear fleet, and at the same time enabling Australia to access N-subs earlier than previously expected under the Aukus pact. According to a report in the authoritative janes.com, to maintain a…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – GME cuts ribbon on new defence electronics facility

In the final day of @AuManufacturing’s editorial series, Excellence in maritime manufacturing, we visit communications specialist GME, which opened a new Zone 4 secure manufacturing facility this week to help it realise its ambitions in defence.  GME has a long history in electronics manufacture in Australia, though its efforts in defence only go back about…

Navantia Australia and UGL bid for amphibious ship build

Bidders are lining up to bid for contracts to to build the defence force’s next generation amphibious vessel. At the Indo Pacific Maritime Expo in Sydney Navantia Australia and CIMIC Group company UGL launched a partnership to jointly bid for the Australian Army’s LCM-8 replacement project, LAND 8710-1 Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel Medium (LMV-M). Earlier this…

EOS launches its naval remote weapon station

Australian indigenous prime defence contractor Electro Optic Systems (EOS) has marked the official Australian launch of its R400 Marine (R400-M) remote weapon station (RWS) at an unveiling held at the Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition. The marine RWS is a stabilised version of the company’s RWS which has sold to numerous defence customers in…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – the view of the Indian Ocean from WA

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing turns to the Indian Ocean, where Serge DeSilva-Ranasinghe and CDRE Brett Dowsing, RAN (Rtd) suggest a maritime Colombo plan as a contribution to regional security. From a defence and security perspective, the Indian Ocean region is a zone that has significant untapped potential, yet in many ways Australia’s…

BAE Systems Australia secures $50m guided weapons export contract

BAE Systems Australia has announced it has secured a $50 million export contract to deliver critical hardware and software sub-assemblies into the global Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) programme. BAE Systems provides critical elements of Nato’s ESSM including locally developed launch sequence software and systems, with this contract a fillip to a network of Australian…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – award-winning project develops enhanced shipbuilding steel

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing looks at collaborative R&D on tougher shipbuilding steel in Australia.

Carbon revolution grant shows the absurdity in Canberra’s daily cash giveaways

Comment by Peter Roberts I hate to say this, but a $12 million Modern Manufacturing Initiative grant to help carbon fibre wheel manufacturer Carbon Revolution build its first Mega production line just announced has shown the absurdity, and the needless cost of federal government grant schemes. I hate to say this because I am a…

Electro Optic Systems qualifies laser weapon

Defence, space and telecommunications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems has successfully qualified its directed energy (DE) or laser weapon system to identify and attack drone aircraft. The company’s Titanis system, which has until now been able to engage targets using machine guns, cannon or missiles, has been equipped with a ‘powerful laser’ and has disabled Group…

Thales and Ocius develop unmanned anti-submarine capability

Thales Australia and Ocius Technology have entered a teaming agreement to develop and deploy an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) capability equipped for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and surveillance missions. The Australian designed and manufactured Blue Sentry autonomous system is made up of a team of Ocius Bluebottle USVs integrated with Thales’s new thin line Fibre Optic…

Eptec awarded $66 m contract for blast and paint work on Collins subs

Engineering firm Eptec Group has been awarded a $66 million, six-year contract with ASC to provide blasting and painting services as part of the Collins Class full cycle dockings in Adelaide.

Serco and Civmec to bid for amphibious capability

Engineering firm Civmec and services firm Serco have joined together to bid to build the defence force’s next generation amphibious vessel. The companies over the past year have been optimising the design for their Oboe Manoeuvre Vessel Medium (LMV-M) in pursuit of the LAND 8710 1A programme. Should the be successful they plan to form…

UK-based business scores frigate valve contract

Perth engineering firm Score Australasia has been selected by BAE Systems Australia to manufacture, assemble and supply thousands of valves for the first batch of three Hunter class frigates being built in Adelaide. The Uk-owned company, which makes valves, fuel systems and accessories, has made a commitment that ‘a significant amount’ of the $26 million…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – Defence Innovation Hub celebrates successes

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing coinciding with the Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition looks at success supported by the Defence Innovation Hub. The Defence Innovation Hub is taking the opportunity of the Indo Pacific Maritime Expo to celebrate some of its successes which support more than 2,000 jobs across Australia. With…

ABT completes brake delivery for Hawkeye

Fail-safe vehicle braking systems manufacturer Advanced Braking Technology has delivered all 1,100 hill hold brake systems to cover the initial requirements for the Hawkei protected mobility vehicles that Thales is building for the army under the LAND 121 project. The milestones marks the completion of the Perth company’s first major defence project, giving it the…

Gilmour awarded $15 million to develop and launch Australian surveillance satellite

Gilmour Space Technologies has been awarded a $15 million contract to develop and launch a new sovereign surveillance satellite, with launch scheduled for mid-2023.

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – Making a case for safer lithium batteries

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing looks at an Australian startup targeting the problem of overheating batteries, and their early work in marine applications. By Tyson Bowen.

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – Lessons from the Ukraine by Gregor Ferguson

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing coinciding with the Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition turns to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its lessons for Australia’s maritime forces. Comment by Gregor Ferguson. Russia’s bungled invasion of Ukraine, which is now in its third month, is replete with lessons for war fighters, war…

Call for help to design Australian Space park

Feedback is being sought from potential users and operators of the Common User Facility within Australia’s first dedicated space manufacturing hub, Australian Space Park, to ensure it meets the future needs of the Australian space industry. The Australian Space Park – to be built at a site at Adelaide airport – will accelerate Australia’s sovereign…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – material gains for maritime

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing coinciding with the Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition, William Poole speaks to composites specialist ACS-A.

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – Anduril’s Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicles

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing looks at Anduril Industries’ Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicle which is destined for local manufacture, and how manufacturing is helping the company to disrupt the defence sector. Getting defence capabilities from the concept to final product stage can be a very time-consuming – manufacturing can follow years…

Dutton announces Australia will build three prototype robot submarines

Anduril Australia, the Royal Australian Navy and Defence Science and the Technology Group will design, develop and manufacture three prototype Extra Large Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (XLAUVs) over the next three years. According to an announcement by defence minister Peter Dutton on Thursday, Defence and Anduril Australia would co-fund the program, working to an “ambitious build…

Northrop Grumman recruits Australian SMEs for satellite bid

US prime defence contractor Northrop Grumman has brought together a powerful group including Australian SMEs to bid to construct a military satellite communications system. The team includes Inmarsat, L3Harris, AECOM, Blacktree Technologies, EM Solutions and Vocus, and will be able to draw on decades of collective experience to invest in and grow an ‘Australian sovereign…

Report sheds light on defence local construction cost premium

A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has injected a little reality into claims that Australia is paying too much for military equipment, and specifically the Hunter class frigate programme. In Understanding the price of military equipment ASPI senior analyst Marcus Hellyer argues that that the cost of modern military equipment can be eye-wateringly…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – AIDN’s Brent Clark on defence/SME engagement

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing turns to the involvement of Australian owned SMEs in defence contracts. Here Peter Roberts interviews Brent Clark, CEO of our largest SME defence body, the Australian Industry & Defence Network. @AuManufacturing: The appointment of a defence industry minister in 2016 began a more public effort by the…

Austal gets new US Navy ship order

The US subsidiary of Perth shipbuilder Austal will design and construct a 16th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel for the US Navy. The USN has exercised a $324.6 million (US$230.5 million) fixed–priced incentive contract option for EPF 16 equipped with enhanced medical and aviation capabilities – the third medical version of the transport ship ordered.…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – frigate build makes up lost time says Craig Lockhart

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing turns to the Hunter class frigate programme. In an exclusive interview with Peter Roberts, BAE Systems Maritime Australia’s Craig Lockhart reveals the company has made up 12 months of early delays in constructing Hunter class frigates in Adelaide. He also refutes suggestions the anti-submarine frigates will be…

QuantX’s atomic clock gets support

QuantX, the company that has developed some of the world’s most accurate clocks, has won $1 million from SmartSatCRC to develop a new atomic clock designed to operate in space. The Adelaide technology company will accelerate development of a new atomic clock designed to provide the most precise timing for satellites in space, according to…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – communication is the key

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing coinciding with the Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition turns to the issue of communications. Here Peter Roberts talks with Matthew Jones of Electro Optic Systems. If Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has taught us anything, it is that good communications are critical to success, according to Matthew…

Excellence in maritime manufacturing – touring Osborne naval shipyard

Kicking off @AuManufacturing’s editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing we visit the Osborne shipyard in Adelaide where nine Hunter class frigates are under construction. Covid-19 and defence concerns have kept journalists away from the shipyard, but here, Peter Roberts reports on an exclusive first-tour. A tour of Australia’s biggest investment in naval shipbuilding facilities begins…

Launch of our new editorial series – excellence in maritime manufacturing

Today @AuManufacturing launches its new editorial series Excellence in maritime manufacturing coinciding with the Indo Pacific 2022 International Maritime Exposition. Maritime industries are booming as Australia builds new naval vessels at a rate unprecedented in peacetime. In a separate story Peter Roberts tours the Osborne shipyard in Adelaide, while here he sets the scene. Australia’s…

Nova Systems plans SME summit to help grow sovereign defence sector

Defence industry technology group Nova Systems has revealed plans for an inaugural SME summit to grow and scale sovereign Australian defence capability. The company has invited Australian owned and operated defence Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to attend the inaugural SME Summit which will coincide with the Indo Pacific maritime defence conference in Sydney next…

Labor promises an Australian Strategic Research Agency

The federal opposition has promised an Australian Strategic Research Agency in the style of highly successful overseas research models should it win the upcoming federal election. Opposition frontbencher Brendan O’Connor said the new agency would work closely with its counterparts, the ground-breaking US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the newly created UK Advanced…

More grants to Boeing for Ghost Bat jet manufacture

$58.6 million in grants for nine projects under the defence industry priority for the Modern Manufacturing Initiative have been announced which will further support Boeing Australia’s manufacture of its MQ-28A Ghost Bat autonomous jet aircraft, formerly known as Loyal Wingman. Campaigning in Queensland the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that $34 million under the initiative’s…

Barrett Communications launches HF Antenna Tuner

Barrett Communications has announced a new range of Automatic HF Antenna Tuners (ATUs) designed to interface with Barrett 4000 series transceivers. The 4045 Automatic HF Antenna Tuner, the 4049 Automatic Tuning Mobile HF Antenna and the 411 Automatic HF Antenna Tuner are suitable for land-mobile, marine and base station installations. All Barrett ATUs provide continuous…

$50 million funding awarded to four-year defence manufacturing project

Federal funding for the second Trailblazer program was announced on Wednesday, with the University of Adelaide-led Defence Trailblazer for Concept to Sovereign Capability (CSC) gaining $50 million for commercialisation of research focussed on defence applications.

Dutton refuses to detail local N-sub content, announces Collins upgrade

Defence minister Peter Dutton has refused to detail what portion of the government’s planned nuclear submarine fleet will be built in Australia. On a visit to Adelaide’s Osborne shipyard to announce an upgrade to the ageing Collins class submarines, the first questions asked of Dutton were about future shipbuilding jobs in South Australia. In a…

Austal to build two more Evolved Cape Class boats for $124 million

The federal government announced on Monday that it will spend $124 million on two more Evolved Cape Class patrol boats, to be built by Austal and scheduled to be delivered in late-2023.

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Skykraft successfully tests aviation monitoring small satellites Skykraft has successfully completed vibration and thermal testing of one of its Block II constellation spacecraft (pictured) at Vipac Engineers & Scientists. The Australian developed and manufactured smallsats will replace ground-based infrastructure for Air Traffic Management with space-based systems, for both surveillance and communication services. Built in Skykraft’s…

Northrop Grumman links with IntelliDesign for manufacture

Northrop Grumman Australia has linked with local electronics engineering company IntelliDesign for hardware design services and contract manufacturing of communications devices. IntelliDesign will work on Northrop Grumman’s Secure Communications Solution (SCS) devices – the SCS-200 capability – which provides simple, secure network access for deployed teams and individuals working for defence and the Department of…

NIOA in multi-million dollar ADF weapons project

Queensland-based munitions manufacturer NIOA has been selected to deliver the first stage of a major weapons upgrade for the Australian Defence Force. Defence minister Peter Dutton said Tranche 1 of the LAND 159 Lethality System would equip Australia’s soldiers, sailors and aviators with next-generation mission systems, surveillance and target acquisitions ancillaries, ammunitions, facilities and training…

BAE Systems – Hunter frigate construction – video

BAE Systems Australia has given us a sneak peek at the progress it has made during the prototyping phase of the construction of nine Hunter class frigates in Adelaide (video below). In the time-lapse video shipbuilders at Osborne naval shipyard are putting their skills to the test consolidating elements to create a structure destined to…

BAE Systems, Ai Group back degree apprenticeships

BAE Systems Australia and the employer association Ai Group will launch the nation’s first degree apprenticeship programme at the start of the 2023 academic year. The degree apprentice programme, to be delivered by Victoria University, aims to increase skilled participation in major defence projects and has already received the endorsement of major employers in the…

20 Bushmasters to be flown to Ukraine today

Twenty Bushmaster armoured vehicles worth $50 million will be flown to Ukraine today following an appeal by for Australia to step up its aid to the beleaguered nation. Defence minister Peter Dutton was at RAAF base, Ipswich this morning to see specially painted Bushmasters (pictured) loaded aboard a RAAF C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft for transit…

$19 million in contracts awarded to companies developing tech for ADF use

A second round of contracts through the Defence Innovation Hub this week has been announced, with nine companies awarded $19 million on Thursday to develop new technologies for use by the Australian Defence Force. 

Patrick attacks subs construction backflip

Independent Senator Rex Patrick has criticised an apparent backflip by the federal government in their plans to build nuclear powered submarines in Adelaide. According to a report in The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the nuclear submarines being acquired by Australia under the Aukus pact may be imported. Morrison appeared to say that…

PhosEnergy to develop nuclear space batteries

Adelaide-based green-energy technology company PhosEnergy and the University of Adelaide are developing next-generation nuclear batteries for space and defence industries. PhosEnergy, which develops technology for recovering useful energy resources and chemicals from wastes, have been awarded a grant of more than $2.4 million to support the project under the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centre’s Projects…

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Li-S Energy expands production footprint at Deakin Novel battery technology developer LiS Energy has grown with the addition of more facility space to increase production at Deakin University, Geelong’s Institute for Frontier Materials. Li-S has signed a lease to take an additional 1,000 square metres of space at the Waurn Ponds campus for the installation…

Toolcraft and Mitchell & Cheesman merge for defence

Two South Australian defence suppliers are joining forces to offer a comprehensive suite of integrated design and engineering services for a range of customers, including defence. Complex mechanical system integration specialist Toolcraft Australia and flexible manufacturing solutions provider Mitchell & Cheesman have merged to deliver significantly expanded advanced manufacturing and technology development capabilities. Established in…

Canberra puts foreign companies at head of multi-billion missile programme

By Peter Roberts The federal government has selected foreign defence contractors and allocated a supporting role to two genuinely Australian consortia in accelerating the rollout of ‘sovereign’ guided weapons capabilities. Minister for defence Peter Dutton announced a $3.5 billion investment in speeding delivery of new missile capabilities for the Royal Australian Air Force and the…

Ten contracts worth $23 million awarded through Defence Innovation Hub

Ten companies have been awarded a total of $23 million in contracts through the Defence Innovation Hub, with the largest going to precision metal engineering company A.W. Bell.

Ukraine creates perfect conditions to prove XTEK composites

By Peter Roberts I was touring the Adelaide factory and R&D centre of ballistic armour manufacturer Xtek yesterday when news came through that it had received an urgent order for ballistic armour for $2.15 million – its third from unnamed international customers within a month. Xtek’s order takes total sales over the past 30 days…

XTEK receives third urgent order for armour in 30 days, citing “heightened global security environment”

XTEK has received a third urgent order for ballistic armour from an unnamed international customer within a month, announcing a $2.15 million order on Monday.

Today’s federal government cash for industry – $41m for Varley

By Peter Roberts The federal government has continued its all but daily announcements of new defence contracts and grants to manufacturers with the news today that Tomago, NSW engineering group Varley will receive a $41 million contract for deployable military infrastructure. According to a statement from defence minister Peter Dutton: “The contract is part of…

Canberra data centre manufacturer earns $12 million Defence contract

Canberra-based modular data centre maker Datapod has been awarded a $12 million order from the federal government, described as a boost for the nation’s sovereign industrial capability.

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Frucor Suntory to build $400m factory Beverage manufacturer Frucor Suntory is to build a $400 million facility in Swanbank, Queensland with support from the Queensland government. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “The value of attracting this investment to Queensland will have significant benefits for our economic recovery and most importantly, it will create new jobs for…

Australian Bushmasters bound for Ukraine

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has agreed to send Australian-made Bushmaster vehicles to Ukraine, after a plea from the nation’s wartime President. Earlier Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy made a speech to federal parliament calling for Australia to send the country weapons systems including the Bushmaster. Speaking through an interpreter the khaki-clad president said some of…

Australia asked to send Bushmasters to Ukraine

The Australian developed and built Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle may be on its way to Ukranian forces following a plea from Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy made direct in a speech to federal parliament. Speaking through an interpreter the khaki-clad president said some of the more than 1,000 Bushmasters serving in Australia would ‘do much more…

$172,500 awarded to WA higher degree defence research projects

Fifteen projects, covering research areas ranging from jet-powered maritime motors to satellite communications, have been awarded between $7,500 and $15,000 under the Defence Science Centre (DSC) Research Higher Degree Student Grants program.

Budget 2022: $9.9 billion towards cyber security aims to make Australia a key ‘offensive’ cyber player

By Paul Haskell-Dowland, Edith Cowan University In the 2022 federal budget, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg launched a range of vote-winning initiatives – one of which included a breathtaking A$9.9 billion for cyber security over ten years. Bundled under the acronym REDSPICE (which stands for resilience, effects, defence, space, intelligence, cyber and enablers), the program is expected…

Three new focus areas for defence innovation investment named

The Defence Innovation Hub will seek submissions that aim to strengthen defence capabilities in guided weapons and explosive ordnance, integrated air and missile defence, and undersea warfare. In a statement on Thursday, the federal government named the three areas as of an immediate strategic importance to defence, and which would be a focus for government…

Raytheon Australia revs up to sustain guided missile destroyers

Raytheon Australia has launched the DDG Australian Industry Panel to drive its Capability Life Cycle Management solution for the Royal Australian Navy’s guided missile destroyers (DDGs). The new panel is an established network of sovereign defence industry capability, comprising 350 naval systems professionals and 21 industry partners, selected for their in-depth knowledge of DDGs and…

Massive expansion planned for Adelaide shipyard

By Peter Roberts Hot on the tail of a $4.3 billion promise to expand the Henderson maritime precinct in Perth, Adelaide has been offered a similar carrot with the federal government leasing a massive area for the expansion of the Osborne naval shipyard. The government has revealed it will lease an additional 45 hectares of…

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

VEEM completes Australia’s largest propeller Perth marine engineering firm VEEM has completed casting and machining of the largest propeller ever produced by the company – and also the largest ever made in Australia (picture). Weighing in at around 1,500kg and manufactured with very high tolerances, the Controllable Pitch Propellor was commissioned by Norwegian company Kongsberg…

Xtek gets second ‘urgent’ body armour order

Ballistic armour manufacturer XTEK has received a $3.2 million order for the urgent supply of specialist ballistic armour products from an international customer – the second urgent order in the past two weeks. Xtek said the latest order for its HighCom US division was for an international customer which it did not name. This follows…

Thales deepens DroneShield’s involvement in global supply chains

Drone detection and countermeasure manufacturer DroneShield and French defence contractor Thales have strengthened their global relationship following Thales’ testing of the company’s products. The two companies have collaborated for the past three years under the federal government’s global supply chain programme, with Thales integrating DroneShield sensors into its military and aerospace systems. More recently, DroneShield’s…

Command and control specialist wins top defence science award

Dr Alex Kallouniatis, a senior operations analyst with the defence department, has earned the Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science. The annual award has been running since 1988, with Kallouniatis winning the 2021 award, which was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is given for scientific and technological contributions to Defence capability “of…

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Boral hit by east coast floods Building products group Boral has seen its earnings hit adversely by lower sales following the recent floods in New South Eales and Queensland. The company now expects operating profit (EBIT) to fall to between $145 million and $155 million for FY22. CEO Zlatko Todorcevski said the impact to earnings…

Silentium Defence aims to improve disaster planning from space

Passive radar systems manufacturer Silentium Defence has partnered with the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Duke University engineering researchers to improve disaster monitoring and management from spacecraft. Capabilities to be explored under a new partnership utilising Adelaide-based Silentium’s passive military radar technology include faster, more accurate storm predictions, real-time tracking of…

Loyal Wingman now known as MQ-28A Ghost Bat

The first military aircraft to be built in Australia in over half a century has been given a new name, the MQ-28A Ghost Bat. Boeing congratulated the Australian government and Royal Australian Air Force on the selection, with the Loyal Wingman development program name to be phased out. The new military designator and name was…

ASC employs former Attack class submarine workers

Submarine builder ASC has welcomed more former submarine workers into its ranks as part of national efforts to redeploy those displaced when the federal government abandoned its plan for French company Naval Group to construct Attack class submarines in Adelaide. ASC, which built and maintains the Collins class submarines, has employed another 120 Attack class…

Black Sky develops Australian missile capabilities

Australian rocket company Black Sky Aerospace has achieved a major milestone which could lead to the development of an Australian precision guided missile. The company, working with partners including Crystalaid, achieved initial integration of guidance and control on a missile fired in Queensland. Black Sky aims to develop a next generation missile system and ensure…

NIOA ramps up recruitment drive

Defence contractor NIOA is embarking on the biggest hiring spree in its 50-year history in its drive to become Australia’s global firearms, weapons and munitions company. Engineers, business development professionals, account managers, administration personnel and warehouse workers are wanted across the company’s operations in Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, Benalla in regional Victoria and Lithgow, New South…

Ronson Gears demonstrates SME defence engagement

Aerospace company Lockheed Martin has showcased its contribution to its Australian SME supply chain, boasting that it had awarded six new contracts to Melbourne-based manufacturer Ronson Gears over the past 18 months under its Global Supply Chain (GSC) Program. According to a statement Ronson Gears now has a total of eleven GSC export contracts with…

Local technology to disrupt US illegal drug trade

BAE Systems Australia will export defence technology designed and developed in Australia to detect and disrupt illicit drugs entering the United States. The company today announced it would deliver a multi-mission digital high frequency (HF) receiver system into the US Government’s Maritime-centric Over the Horizon Radar (MASOR) project which is now a critical part of…

VRA and Rafael move to manufacture Spike missile

Varley Rafael Australia (VRA) is continuing to progress its sovereign guided missile capability and its readiness for local manufacture and support of the Spike LR2 anti-tank and anti-personnel guided missile (pictured). The Spike missile has been selected by the Australian Defence Force and is available in man-portable, vehicle-launched, and helicopter-launched variants. Varley Rafael Australia (VRA)…

Boeing highlights $5 million supplier development program for satcom team

Aerospace and defence company Boeing has announced that it has committed over $5 million to an 18-month development program involving seven suppliers on a team which intends to build satellites under the JP9102 program.

BAE Systems to invest in Williamtown

BAE Systems Australia will create 55 new skilled engineering jobs in the Hunter region of New South Wales through support provided by the state government’s $250 million Jobs Plus Program. BAE Systems will expand the company’s Williamtown base, building additional bays at the aircraft sustainment hub, which will complement the new bays planned to be…

NIOA trials rifle sensor-fusion technology

A ‘smart rail system’ that transforms rifles into data nodes linking soldiers in the battlefield with tactical leaders and commanders, is being trialled by NIOA. The Brisbane prime defence contractor has linked with technology and licensing company T-Worx to investigate application of its Intelligent-Rail (I-Rail) technology for use in the Australian Defence Force. The rifle-mounted…

USQ research joins Defence Industry Security Program

University of Southern Queensland defence industry research efforts have been granted membership to the federal government’s Defence Industry Security Program (DISP). Membership signals USQ’s strong capability to meet the national and international security requirements of Australia’s defence industry supply chain, according to a statement. DISP provides non-military organisations with a framework for working securely with…

Insitu Pacific to deliver Integrator UAS

Unmanned aerial system (UAS) manufacturer Insitu Pacific has been announced as preferred supplier by the Australian Government to provide the new Tactical Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) to the Australian Army under the LAND129 Phase 3 programme. Insitu, a division of the Boeing company, will initially deliver and provide support of its Integrator UAS (pictured) as…

Deakin, Thales announce new carbon composite collaboration

A six-month R&D project led by Thales Australia will develop a carbon fibre composite overwrap, reducing the thickness of gun barrels and producing a lighter product with improved precision.

XTEK Receives Defence Orders for SUAS Systems

Defence systems and composites manufacturer XTEK has received a purchase order for $2.75 million from Australia’s Department of Defence for Wasp Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) systems (pictured). The new order adds to other orders, also recently received from defence, for SUAS spare parts and related specialist software, worth a combined value of $4.94 million.…

SAAB combat systems centre backed by $22 million MMI grant

The federal government will spend more than $22 million to support the development of Saab Australia’s Sovereign Combat System Collaboration Centre under the Collaboration Stream of the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative. Three federal ministers and the SA Premier Steven Marshall today issued a joint media release claiming credit for the initiative, which supports Saab’s…

RAN selects Silentium for passive radar

Silentium Defence has won a contract with the Royal Australian Navy to explore application of passive radar systems for enhanced situational awareness in the maritime domain. Under the contract, the navy has engaged Silentium in a gated process to design, install and evaluate its MAVERICK passive radar across a range of maritime applications. Silentium Defence…

PM’s subs announcement contradicts Defence advice: Patrick

By Joseph Brookes The Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of a new submarine base at one of three east coast locations is pork barrelling and risks Australia’s national security, according to independent Senator Rex Patrick. The senator, a former submariner, is demanding answers as to why the government has gone against Defence’s previous recommendation for…

BAE Systems updates JORN radar electronics

BAE Systems Australia engineers have installed the first prototypes of the complex signal receiving and processing electronics that will update Australia’s JORN network of over the horizon surveillance radars. The company congratulated its Jindalee Operations Radar Network (JORN) team on its significant progress with the delivery of Phase 6 upgrades as installation commences at the…

XTEK fulfills urgent $2.75 million order for ballistic armour

ASX-listed composites technology company XTEK has announced the receipt and rapid filling of an urgent order of “specialist ballistic armour products” for an undisclosed customer, worth $2.75 million. Few details other than the dollar value of the order and its urgency were given in the short statement on Monday, though group CEO Scott Basham, cited…

Thales trials sovereign minesweeping capability

Defence contractor Thales Australia has successfully trialled a sovereign enhanced, designed, developed and manufactured minesweeping capability. The French-owned company trialled modifications to its Combined Influence Sweep (CIS) minesweeping system (main picture, and below) which was designed and manufactured in conjunction with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group. The CIS, successfully in operation for over 20…

Ukraine shows how bare is Australia’s missile cupboard

By Peter Roberts With governments round the world looking in their defence inventories to see what weapons or assistance they can send Ukraine, just what does Australia have sitting round that we could quickly send to the beleaguered nation? Turns out – not much. According to senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Marcus…

Australian shipbuilders facing ‘valley of death’ due to nuclear subs uncertainty

A Senate report has cast doubt on Australia’s ability to avoid a ship building industry “valley of death” because of uncertainty over whether nuclear powered submarines can be built locally or delivered before 2040.

Sovereign Missile Alliance links with Diehl Defence

The Sovereign Missile Alliance (SMA) backed by indigenous companies Electro Optic Systems and Nova Systems has linked with Germany’s Diehl Defence for guided missile technology. The companies announced today of their intention to collaborate with Diehl Defence which is well known for its work modifying the Sidewinder air-to-air guided missile used for decades globally for…

UNSW hypersonics experiment will feature at NASA event

A UNSW Canberra-designed hypersonics experiment will feature at a NASA-run workshop in January next year.

‘Different world’ will constrain quantum collaboration beyond close allies: Chief Defence Scientist

Australia’s quantum academics need to accept the government will limit their international collaborations with world leading researchers because of an increasingly contested geopolitical environment, according to Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro.

WA to upgrade ship manufacture, maintenance wharfs

The WA government has announced a $32.1 million programme of investments to upgrade defence marine manufacturing and maintenance facilities at its Australian Marine Complex at Henderson south of Perth (pictured). The programme adds to earlier announcements, bringing the total being invested at Henderson to more than $89.3 million in four infrastructure projects. A new vessel…

Geelong selected as Hanwha’s $170 million armoured vehicle site

Avalon Airport has been chosen for Hanwha Defense Australia’s $170 million Armoured Vehicle Centre of Excellence.

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Cochlear’s strong sales growth Growth in services offered by hearing implant manufacturer Cochlear has driven sales revenue for the half year ended December 12 per cent higher in constant currency terms to $1,135 million. While sales of Cochlear implants rose seven per cent to 18,598 in the half, services revenues such as sound processor upgrades…

Elphinstone chosen to manufacture armoured hulls

Tasmanian heavy vehicle builder Elphinstone has reached an agreement to build 45 armoured turrets and hulls for the Australian army’s next generation artillery system, the AS-9 Huntsman (pictured). Hanwha Defense Australia’s Huntsman mobile howitzers, being manufactured in Geelong, Victoria by in a $1 billion project, will utilise Elphinstone which has been chasing defence work for…

BAE progresses frigate prototyping

BAE Systems Australia Maritime has completed the third prototype unit (pictured) for the Hunter Class Frigate Program Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide. The unit, a sizable 232 square meters, 2.9 meters high and weighing over 37 tonnes, has now moved from the shipyard’s primary manufacturing hall on to the next phase of production The unit…

Anti-Tank Gun made by Holden under hammer

Items from a collection of over 10,000 pieces of military memorabilia could be banned from leaving Australia due to their heritage value, according to Lloyds Auctions.

Air Fab to export aircraft access stands

A Victorian small business has been awarded a $3.2 million contract with the US Navy to deliver 22 specialised work stands that give technicians safe access to the navy’s P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft. The Ferntree Gully company will also manufacture eight work stands for the Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidons. The work stands…

SPEE3D wins award at Military Additive Manufacturing Summit in the US

Additive manufacturing company SPEE3D has won the Expeditionary & Tactical 3D Printing Excellence Award at an event in the United States. The award was at the 6th Military Additive Manufacturing Summit in Tampa, Florida, held by the US Defense Strategies Institute (DSI). “SPEE3D is very proud and humbled to be recognized in the US for…

Defence scientists eye undersea technology gains

Defence science, public sector researchers and industry are to collaborate to develop significant capability gains in areas such as sonar systems and undersea surveillance. Projects have begun in the Advanced Piezoelectric Materials and Applications (APMA) Program under a five-year collaboration between DMTC Ltd (formerly, the Defence Materials Technology Centre) and defence scientists to accelerate the…

Hanwha Defense links with Bisalloy for export

Export opportunities have opened up for steel manufacturer Bisalloy Steels with the signing of a MoU with Korean defence contractor Hanwha Defense. The companies will join forces to build armoured combat vehicles and self-propelled howitzers for international markets, including for a recently-executed contract with Egypt. Under the agreement, Hanwha Defense will procure Bisalloy steel for…

UNSW Canberra researcher looks at the ethics of killer robots

A UNSW Canberra military ethicist examines the arguments for and against the adoption of so-called “killer robots” in a new book. Associate Professor Deane-Peter Baker said that his time on the International Panel on the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons (IPRAW) from 2017-19 and further policy work have informed Should we Ban Killer Robots?, released on…

Frigate project rigged for smoother sailing

By Peter Roberts The $45 billion Hunter Class frigate programme has reached a milestone in its development with the completion of a year-long System Definition Review (SDR) which studied how the special requirements of Australia’s defence department can be fitted into the ship’s baseline design. This review is crucial as the inclusion of the Aegis…

Lightweight armour development for the C-130J Hercules aircraft

Hawkesbury-based engineering consultancy Aerospace & Mechanical Consulting Engineers has been awarded a $2.13 million contract to further develop a unique lightweight armour for the C-130J Hercules airlifter aircraft. The federal government contract with Aerospace & Mechanical in partnership with NSW company Armor Composite Engineering, will use a cutting-edge amour solution to provide the aircraft which…

Thailand evaluates EOS remote weapons system

An Australian remote weapons system made by Canberra’s Electro Optic Systems will be trialled by the Royal Thai Army and Defence Technology Institute, clearing the way for the system’s first sale in the region. Leading autonomous systems manufacturer Milrem Robotics has fitted EOS’s R400S – Mk2-HD Remote Weapon Station (RWS) to its THeMIS UGV and…

US Navy commissions Austal-built USS Savannah

The US Navy has commissioned USS Savannah (LCS28), the 14th Independence class littoral combat ship (LCS) constructed by Austal USA, in Mobile, Alabama. The commissioning of the aluminium trimaran vessel designed to operate in near-shore environments as well as open-ocean tasking took place in Brunswick, Georgia over the weekend. The LCS can support forward presence,…

Silentium extends passive radar to drones

Silentium Defence has announced it will extend the capabilities of its passive radar systems to small to medium drones and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), adding to airborne surveillance capabilities. The Adelaide company will leverage the size, weight, and power advantages of passive radar over existing active radar capabilities to extend survivability and range of unmanned…

Cannatrek leads the way on sustainability by embracing innovation and the environment

ADVERTISING FEATURE With the Commonwealth Government’s policy targeting net zero emissions by 2050, the pressure is on Australian business to adjust and adapt to survive. Companies which are open to positive change and innovation with a focus on a circular economy will do more than survive, they will thrive — together with stakeholders and communities.…

137 officials on taskforce exploring nuclear sub options

By Joseph Brookes There are nearly 150 members on the federal government’s nuclear-powered submarines taskforce, including officials from a range of federal departments and 10 contractors who the defence department has declined to name, but no state government representatives. The taskforce was established in September last year on the day the Prime Minister Scott Morrison…

DroneShield upgrades AI engine

Drone detection and countermeasure company DroneShield has announced the upgrading of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine that supports its RF drone and autonomous systems detection devices. The Australian/US company announced the enhancement of their RfPatrol, RfOne and DroneSentry-X drone detection and tracking platforms with the release of updated firmware for the devices. DroneShield capabilities are…

Hypersonic weapons research speeds up

The federal government has stepped up the pace of hypersonic weapons research with the opening of Defence’s Australian Hypersonics Research Precinct at Eagle Farm in Brisbane. Defence minister Peter Dutton launched the $14 million Precinct which provides a location for defence, industry, universities and international partners to advance the understanding and use of hypersonic technology…

BAE Systems Australia boss Costigan promoted – is there a submarine connection?

By Peter Roberts The CEO of defence contractor BAE Systems Australia Gabby Costigan has been promoted to Group Managing Director of Business Development for the global company, based in London. Costigan will move to the United Kingdom to take up the high-powered role during Q2 after a hand over period to new CEO of the…

SA defence grants for five projects

A new virtual reality tool that manipulates digital human mannequins to solve ergonomic challenges posed by military vessels is one of five cutting-edge ventures to receive funding as part of the latest round of grants from the Defence Innovation Partnership’s Collaborative Research Fund (CRF). The University of South Australia, with partners The University of Adelaide…

UNSW claims error-free quantum computing

A defence department backed team at the University of New South Wales has demonstrated that near error-free quantum computing is possible, paving the way to build silicon-based quantum devices compatible with current semiconductor manufacturing technology. UNSW’s Professor Andrea Morello said: “Today’s publication shows our operations were 99 per cent error-free. “When the errors are so…

DroneShield’s bumper result, focus on Australia and the US

Drone detection and countermeasure manufacturer DroneShield has reported a bumper quarterly result and a renewed focus on ‘more business-transparent’ government markets in Australia and the United States. The ASX listed company, which has operations in Australia, the US and the UK, reported cash receipts of $2.6 million in the December quarter, up 53 per cent…

RAAF ‘s new Australian made high-explosive warhead

No. 81 Wing of the RAAF has accepted and and successfully ‘expended’ the first of a new type of Australian manufactured 500lb high-explosive warheads. The first BLU-111(AUS)B/B bomb were delivered to No. 3 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown last year, where it was configured by armament technicians (pictured) as a Paveway II laser guided bomb…

Norsta awarded $70 RAN maintenance contract at new Cairns base

Norsta Maritime of Cairns has been awarded a five-year, $70 million naval maintenance contract delivering the Cairns Regional Maintenance Centre, which will become operational “within the coming months” and initially support the evolved Cape class patrol boats. The contract came with incentives for local SMEs to compete for work, with “local industry set to benefit…

Thales begins construction at Lithgow Arms

French defence manufacturer Thales Australia has received development approval and will begin construction next month on the first phase of its plan to transform the historic Lithgow Arms factory in regional NSW into an industry 4.0 showpiece. The new development will deliver an advanced manufacturing 4.0 and integration hub for the precision manufacture of next…

Deakin University to develop augmented training system

Victoria’s Deakin University is to develop a high-tech augmented and virtual naval firefighting training system for the Australian Defence Force. The federal government has signed a $5.13 million contract with Deakin to continue its development of the cutting-edge system in partnership with technology companies Kellogg, Brown & Root and FLAIM.. The immersive training system for…

Summer news briefs – stories you might have missed

Tritium signs global supply deal with Shell Fast electric vehicle charger manufacturer Tritium has signed a global framework agreement with Shell to provide fast charging technology and services. The Queensland company expects the deal with Shell, which operates 46,000 retail sites, will accelerate the supply of Tritium DC fast chargers to their business operations in…

Military satellite team grows SME involvement

Lockheed Martin Australia boosts has announced two new Australian SMEs, Blacktree Technology and DXC Technology Australia, have joined its team developing a sovereign, resilient military satellite communication (MILSATCOM) capability for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The companies join LMA’s JP9102 team, a large and elite grouping of Australian SMEs and service providers supporting the US…

No limit to Nioa’s ambition, now plans $50m gun factory

Australian owned defence contractor NIOA has revealed plans for a $50 million small arms and weapons factory, adding to the numerous new factories and expansions already underway by the Queensland group. The company said historical weapons manufacturing centres Lithgow in New South Wales and Benalla in Victoria as well as Brisbane are being considered as…

NUSHIP Arafura launched in Adelaide

The first of the navy’s Arafura class offshore patrol vessels (OPV), NUSHIP Arafura, was launched today at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide. The vessel is the first in a fleet of 12 OPVs being built to replace the Armidale and Cape class patrol boats. The first two OPVs are being constructed by Luerssen Australia…

GaardTech tops a big year with sale of vehicle replicas to army

Military training armoured vehicle target system manufacturer GaardTech has topped off a stellar year with the announcement of the sale of replica ‘enemy’ vehicles to the Australian army. The vehicles supplied under the $930,000 contract, announced on social media, will be used for’ dynamic joint training scenarios to be established anywhere in Australia better reflecting…

Finally, Australia signs a big defence buy from Korean firm Hanwha

By Peter Roberts Australia has signed a $1 billion defence contract for new Self-Propelled Howitzers for the army from an Asian nation – from Hanwha Defense Australia and Korea – ending a purchasing drought and bias towards buying from European nations and prime contractors and the United States. Hanwha plans to build and assemble its…

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Uggs’ appeal to the public in iconic boot’s Australian-made battle Ugg boot and sheepskin product manufacturer Australian Leather has turned to the Australian public to support its product which is the subject of a US court battle. The Sydney company has been making ‘Australian made Original Ugg Boots & Ugg Shoes’ since 1982, but is…

NIOA sets itself up for arms development in Lithgow

By Peter Roberts Fast-growing firearms, weapons and ammunition manufacturer NIOA has set itself up for expansion of its operations to the historic defence manufacturing region of Lithgow in New South Wales with the purchase of an important home and land in the regional city. NIOA has purchased historic Lidsdale House (pictured) which sits on a…

Applications to open this month for $280 million in federal manufacturing grants

A second round of grants will be made available through the Translation and Integration streams of the federal Modern Manufacturing Initiative, with applications to open next week. According to a statement from industry minister Angus Taylor on Thursday, $280 million would be available through the second round. Grant funding of between $1 million and $20…

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

SMEs shine at Defence Teaming Centre awards The achievements of six small to medium businesses have been recognised at the Defence Teaming Centre’s (DTC) Awards Ceremony, which mark the DTC’s 25th anniversary. PMB Defence won DTC’s Resilient and Adaptive award, while the Teaming award was awarded to Daronmont Technologies, Zenith Custom Creations, Cold Logic, and…

Thales to make 155mm artillery shells at Benalla

Thales Australia is on schedule to begin production of the 155mm M795 Artillery Projectile at its Benalla, Victoria manufacturing facility in early 2022. The development closely follows Thales Australia’s recent US Department of Defense qualification of its Australian-made TNT to military specifications. Production in Australia will include the filling of steel projectile bodies with high…

QinetiQ to join with Australian Missile Corporation

Global defence technology and engineering company QinetiQ is to collaborate with the Australian Missile Corporation of SME defence companies created on the back of the Australian Government’s plan for a domestic guided missile manufacturing enterprise. QinetiQ has been entrusted with testing and evaluating high-tech weapons systems from small arms to ballistic missiles for AMC, a…

Spike Missile manufacture for Australia

Defence contractors Varley Rafael Australia (VRA) and Thales Australia are to explore future Australian production of the RAFAEL SPIKE family of guided weapons, as part of their support for the establishment of a Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise. VRA is a joint venture Australian engineering company, VARLEY GROUP and guided weapons manufacturer RAFAEL…

Five SMEs awarded Defence Global Competitiveness grants

Five companies have been awarded a combined $1.1 million in assistance through Defence Global Competitiveness grants. The grants were awarded to Electro Cad Australia, Buzzworks, Orbital Corporation, Advanced Navigation and Visit Industrial (see list below.) “These five small businesses are targeting export opportunities as direct exporters or through the global supply chains, demonstrating the dynamic…

CDIC becomes Office of Defence Industry Support

The federal government has replaced the Centre for Defence Industry Capability with a new body that will operate as the ‘one-stop shop’ for SME’s doing business with defence, the Office of Defence Industry Support. The minister for defence industry Melissa Price today launched the new organisation which she said would be used by defence and…

Solinnov and C4 EDGE demonstrate sovereign mesh radio

Software defined radio technology company Solinnov has successfully demonstrated the mesh capability of its BlueBottle multi-mission software-defined radio, capable of RF signal detection and countermeasure generation. Solinnov, part of the C4EDGE consortium of 20 Australian SMEs, showed its BlueM infrastructureless network and demonstrated a Blue Force Tracking scenario and the geolocation of emitters at an…

Saber opens space station opportunity for Aussie astronauts and industry

Saber Astronautics has signed a deal with private spaceflight leader Axiom Space Inc. to create an Australian presence involving astronauts and industry on the International Space Station (ISS). Saber Astronautics will via Axiom, enable people and industry to access the Station’s orbiting microgravity laboratory and develop a new generation of space-developed products for human health,…

Digital ship design transferred to Adelaide

More than two million digital artefacts and 90,000 documents – the basis for the design of Australia’s Hunter class frigates – are being transferred from the UK’s Type 26 frigate program in Scotland to Adelaide’s Osborne Naval Shipyard. The new all-digital shipyard is advancing the prototype stage for the construction of the nine Hunter frigates,…

Experts foresee defence industry capability boom – by NIOA

Contributed by NIOA An emerging defence industry capability could create thousands of high-tech jobs and rake in billions for the economy by 2040. That’s one of the key takeouts from a forum in Brisbane on Friday to discuss potential opportunities around the Australian Government’s guided missiles program. The event, co-hosted by the Australian Missile Corporation…

Thales makes second big investment in Australian factories

French defence contractor Thales has announced its second major investment in its Australian manufacturing facilities in a month, committing a $6 million investment in state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing equipment at the Commonwealth owned Mulwala facility in regional New South Wales. The investment, to accelerate sovereign guided weapons manufacturing capability, follows close on a $6.5 million commitment…

BAE Systems turns M113 personnel carriers autonomous

By Peter Roberts BAE Systems Australia has installed locally-developed autonomous operation hardware and software in twenty M113 AS4 Optionally Crewed Combat Vehicles (OCCVs) and delivered them to the Australian Army. Each M113 AS4 was fitted with a Vehicle Management System, derived from BAE Systems’ domain agnostic autonomy technologies which enables it to operate autonomously. At…

DEWC uses AI to detect RF signals

Electronic Warfare and surveillance technology company DEWC Systems has partnered with the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) to explore AI and machine learning to detect radio frequency (RF) signals. AIML, part if the University of Adelaide, and DEWC will detect and classify RF signals in complex environments as part of their Miniaturised Orbital Electronic…

RMIT 3D printing research could pave the way for sovereign titanium armour manufacture

A research partnership has developed new 3D printing processing parameters and heat treatment, which could lead to sovereign manufacturing of titanium alloy armour for military vehicles, according to the Department of Defence.

EOS reveals laser energy weapon system – video

Defence, space and communications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems has released a video (below) of its new directed-energy (DE) laser weapon system. The system is shown mounted on the company’s T2000 medium calibre turret, and operates to coordinate the response to an armed drone approaching a group of armoured vehicles. The T2000 turret was launched in…

Defence, Boeing give update on Loyal Wingman test flights

Two Loyal Wingman aircraft have recently completed flight missions from South Australia’s Woomera Range complex, the Department of Defence and Boeing have said in an update. The Royal Australian Air Force and Boeing Australia are partnered on the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, which also involves over 30 Australian businesses.  “We’re in a steady rhythm of…

Sacre Bleu! Defence’s new blow to France over Sydney dockyard.

The Department of Defence is canvassing views on the future management of the Captain Cook graving dock at the Garden Island Defence Precinct in Sydney – a move which could see French-owned Thales dumped as facility manager. Thales has had responsibility for ongoing operations and services of the dock and facilities at Garden Island Naval…

Business sunk $35m into failed submarine deal

South Australian businesses spent at least $35 million in preparation for the now-abandoned construction of Attack-class submarines. Up to 350 small and medium SA businesses made investments and an estimated 175 SA companies had qualified as suppliers for the submarines according to the Australian Industry & Defence Network. Network head Brent Clark said each company…

Av-Comm joins MILSATCOM project

Satellite communications infrastructure and services provider Av-Comm will join Lockheed Martin Australia’s (LMA) delivery of a next-generation, sovereign military satellite communication (MILSATCOM) capability for the Australian Defence Force. With experience spanning the government, defence, and telecommunication sectors, Sydney-based Av-Comm will support the installation of high capacity wide-band antenna and radio-frequency subsystems at satellite ground stations.…

Army trial sees expeditionary 3D printing take another step forward

Australian additive manufacturing company SPEE3D has provided an update on its trials with the Australian Army, with a tactical version of one of its printers transported to a remote location and operated to create over a dozen replacement vehicle parts over three weeks.

Three companies join Hunter class frigate program

Three small manufacturers will deliver products into the prototyping phase of construction of nine Hunter class frigates now underway at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide. BAE Systems Maritime Australia announced SMEs in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia would supply a range of manufactured parts for prototyping blocks now under construction. Successful companies…

Thales invests $6.5m in Lithgow arms factory

French defence contractor Thales Australia will invest $6.5 million in the first phase of a plan to redevelop its Lithgow Arms facility in regional New South Wales. The investment will create a new manufacturing and integration hub for the design, development and precision manufacture of next generation weapons systems for the Australian Defence Force, industrial…

Army progresses autonomous truck development

A $3.5 million Australian Army project to develop a convoy of autonomous trucks that use technology to ‘follow the leader’, reducing the need for troops and the risks they face, has successfully completed a series of road trials. The autonomous leader-follower vehicle technology, using modified Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles–Australia (RMMV-A) trucks, was developed under a contract…

EOS receives contract payments, cuts profit outlook

Defence, space and telecommunications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems has clawed back most of the customer payments for its biggest defence contract delayed due to Covid-19, but nonetheless been forced to slash profit outlook for the current financial year. The Canberra company cut guidance for underlying operating profit (EBIT) for FY22, excluding costs associated with its…

Redback vs Lynx competition in final stage

The battle between two global defence contractors to win the competition to provide Australia with new infantry fighting vehicles has reached its climactic final phase. A two-year Risk Mitigation Activity which pitted the Redback and Lynx armoured personnel carriers against other is now complete, with Defence now commencing the final evaluation stage of the tender.…

Hunter frigates to get ‘ Capability Life Cycle Manager’

The federal government is to appoint a Capability Life Cycle Manager for the nine Hunter class frigates which are to be built at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide. The role, which defence industry minister Melissa Price dubbed the sustainment ‘steward’ of the vessels, will manage an expected $5.1 billion in contracts through the service…

Quickstep Aerospace Services expands at Tullamarine

Composites and aerospace manufacturer Quickstep is to invest $4 million expanding its Quickstep Aerospace Services maintenance business at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport. The company, which bought the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operation from Boeing Australia, is to invest $4 million with the support of the Victorian government. Sixty three full-time jobs, including 51 jobs in…

EM Solutions new Antenna Diversity System

Brisbane communications manufacturer EM Solutions has launched a new satellite communications Antenna Diversity System (ADS) which it claims offers a step change in the resilience of naval communications for ships at sea. The company, a subsidiary of Electro Optic Systems, has completed development of its new system by achieving Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) certification, allowing…

Townsville engineering company’s expansion sees them relocate

Indigenous-owned Australian Engineering Professionals has moved into a bigger site at Townsville, increasing their ability to serve customers in mining equipment, defence and other sectors.

Austal launches first evolved Cape Class patrol boat

Perth international shipbuilder Austal has launched the first of six evolved Cape Class patrol boats it is constructing for the Royal Australian Navy. Built at the company’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia the vessel is part of a $324 million contract issued by the Department of Defence in May 2020 for the six 58 metre…

Leidos Australia and Terra15 to develop surveillance sensors

US defence technology company Leidos Australia and Perth’s Terra15 will together develop an easily deployable underwater sensor that will strengthen Australia’s maritime security. The partners and the University of Melbourne’s School of Engineering have received a $1.6 million Defence Innovation Hub contract to develop the technology. Announcing the grant defence industry minister Melissa Price said…

Rheinmetall unveils “uniquely Australian” Lynx vehicle

Defence prime Rheinmetall has debuted the new Lynx Combat Support Vehicle, designed and made at its Redbank, Queensland MILVEHCOE facility and featuring input from over 100 Australian suppliers.

Cyborg Dynamics to develop unmanned combat vehicle

The federal government has awarded a $3.3 million contract to a Brisbane robotics and AI company to develop an unmanned combat vehicle. Announcing the grant to Cyborg Dynamics the minister for defence industry Melissa Price said the weapon would be ‘the likes of which has never been made in Australia’. Cyborg Dynamics’ innovation will integrate…

First Hunter frigate prototype unit completed

The structural manufacture of the first steel prototype unit for the Hunter Class Frigate Program, the largest surface shipbuilding project in Australian history, has been completed at the Osborne naval shipyard in Adelaide. BAE Systems Maritime Australia completed the conversion of more than 28 tonnes of Australian steel into the 217sqm unit (pictured), which has…

50 defence SMEs to get six-month cybersecurity training

A pilot six-month cyber security training project has been announced, with 50 defence industry SMEs in South Australia and Queensland to go through the program, supported by their respective state governments.

Xtek receives US government defence order

Defence, security and space systems manufacturer Xtek’s US subsidiary has received an order from an undisclosed US government department. The company’s 100 per cent owned US subsidiary, HighCom Armor Solutions, received a purchase order from a federal government department valued at $1.5 million for specialist ballistic armour products. Delivery from the group’s ballistics armour brand…

K-TIG passes first armoured steel test for Hanwha

Automated welding technology developer K-TIG has successfully completed the first round of weld testing under a Memorandum of Understanding to develop advanced keyhole welding procedures for Korea’s Hanwha Defense. Weld procedures for joining Ultra Hard Hardness and Ultra High Toughness armoured steels have been developed with hardness and tensile strength results superior to traditional MIG…

Lockheed Martin and Shoal join for satellite communications

Adelaide based systems engineering group Shoal Group will join Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) on its JP9102 team delivering a next-generation military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) system to Defence. LMA’s JP9102 solution is designed for operational superiority over current systems in the industry. According to the company, it not only delivers unparalleled coverage, capacity and resilience, but…

$8.4m innovation grants to DMTC Ltd, QinetiQ

The Defence Innovation Hub has awarded $8.4 million in grants to two companies, DMTC Ltd and QinetiQ to help them develop novel products for use by security and defence forces. $5.4 million has been awarded to Victorian company QinetiQ, which has partnered with the University of Melbourne to develop an innovative, deployable micro-grid that will…

Boxer introduced with live fire exercises

The army has successfully completed two Boxer turret conversion courses in Queensland as it begins introducing the Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle to service. Live fire exercises at the Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland have qualified 35 armoured cavalry crew on new digital sensors, next generation thermal sights and mission systems in the Boxer’s turret. The…

Thales to continue support work on MU90 anti-sub torpedoes

A $20 million contract will see Thales Australia continue sustainment of anti-submarine torpedoes in Western Australia. Thales has had the support contract since the adoption of the MU90 Light Weight Torpedoes by the Royal Australian Navy in 2013. “I am proud that Thales Australia has been awarded this contract to continue with the in-country, in-service…

Xtek seeks $5 million to support armour, drone, software R&D

Xtek is undertaking a $7.7 million capital raise, which will support investment in developing new drones, software and composite armour. The  ASX-listed defence contractor announced on Monday that it had raised $2.7 million so far through an institutional placement, and would make a pro-rata non-renounceable entitlement offer to all eligible security holders to raise a…

$3 million awarded in defence technology grants for small businesses

Ten Australian businesses have been awarded grants of up to $300,000 to develop technologies answering identified Defence capability challenges.

New $4 million food and pharma centre opens at Parkville Biomedical Precinct

The $4 million Faster, Smarter Pharma and Food Manufacturing Project was launched at Parkville on Tuesday, aimed at stimulating innovation in the pharmaceutical and food manufacturing sectors.

Thales contract for Boxer CRVs to create 10 new jobs at Lithgow

Thales Australia has been awarded a contract to produce components for the 30mm cannons on the Rheinmetall Defence Australia-led Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle project.

Ambition of Boeing Defence and Wellcamp Airport revealed – video

The scale and ambition of Boeing Defence’s unmanned aircraft production precinct at Toowomba Wellcamp Airport has been revealed in a new video from the airport itself. Already the location of an industrial park and export hub including direct flights to Asia, the city, two hours west of Brisbane by car, will develop a new manufacturing,…

Why the Australia-France submarine deal collapse was predictable

Australia’s unilateral cancellation of its contract to purchase French submarines and sign up for the AUKUS security pact constitutes a slap in the face for French diplomacy – variously described as a “stab in the back” and a “betrayal” by French diplomats.

Bale will build 40 next-gen rough terrain vehicles, create six new jobs

Bale Defence has been awarded an $8.47 million contract to deliver 40 tactical off-road vehicles for the Australian government.

‘Son of Collins’ needed to bridge submarine capability gap

By Peter Roberts Something needs to done to bridge a submarine capability gap no matter what the outcome of an 18 month study by the US. UK and Australia determines about the viability of Australia acquiring nuclear propelled submarines from our allies. This is becoming increasingly clear as a life-extension of the six Collins class…

Regional business lobby welcomes Wellcamp Wingman coup 

Business group the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise called Wednesday morning’s news that Boeing would establish a new factory at Wellcamp Airport a “game changer” that will bring significant opportunities to the city.

Boeing selects Wellcamp Airport for ‘first site of its kind outside North America’

Boeing has announced it will construct a new facility at Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba, where it will build its Loyal Wingman autonomous aircraft, the first military aircraft to be designed and manufactured in Australia in half a century.

Aussie manufacturers dudded by Australia’s submarine flip flop

Canberra’s submarine flip flop has left industry and key manufacturers high and dry with questions raised about the extent of Australian content in an imported nuclear submarine, and manufacturers with existing contracts with the French Naval Group facing an uncertain future. The former head of Australian Submarine Corporation, which built the Collins submarines, Hans Ohff…

Ditch nuclear and evolve the Collins class, our best submarine option – by Peter Roberts

Comment by Peter Roberts It has been a long weekend for defence industry watchers but here’s Australia’s submarine decision fallout so far: it is clear we have double crossed Japan; we double crossed France; we ignored our neighbours such as New Zealand and Indonesia; we have enraged China; and made an enemy of the leading…

Our new nuclear subs: what’s in them for industry?

By Brent Balinski This morning’s announcement that Australia will build submarines, with nuclear propulsion IP shared by the United States, has enormous implications. The details matter, as always, and they are to be determined. The United States is to share nuclear propulsion IP with Australia, the first time it has done so with another nation…

US, UK join to build nuclear submarines in Adelaide

The US, UK and Australia have struck a new defence alliance, dubbed AUKUS, and will construct a fleet of possibly eight nuclear powered submarines in Adelaide. The submarines will be nuclear powered, but not carry nuclear weapons, according to Prime Minister Morrison, and there will be no civil nuclear industry established locally. It is not…

Twelve awarded submarine combat system contracts

Twelve contracts have been awarded to Australian industry and academic organisations for studies into novel and emerging advanced technologies in support of Australia’s Attack Class Submarine combat system. Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) today announced its fourth cycle of research and development (R&D) contracts awarded under the Future Submarine Program with a combined value of $900,000.…

Tasmania’s PFG to build three tactical watercraft for NZ Navy

PFG Group has been awarded a contract to supply the Royal New Zealand Navy with three 12.6-metre “Littoral Manoeuvre Craft” class boats. According to an announcement on Tuesday from Tasmanian deputy premier and manufacturing minister Jeremy Rockliff, PFG had been perfecting the vessel — named The Sentinel — for 25 years, “with more than 100…

Peever to lead short defence innovation review

By Peter Roberts Minister for defence industry Melissa Price today announced former Rio Tinto Australia managing director David Peever would lead an independent review of defence innovation, science and technology. However despite promising ‘a comprehensive review’, Peever has been given very little time to canvas opinion, with the government expecting a full report by the…

XTEK awarded $1.9 m Defence contract for SUAS parts

Defence contractor XTEK has received a $1.9 million order for Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) spare parts as part of its role as prime system integrator on the Land 129-4A project.

It’s time for Australia to develop its own guided missiles — otherwise, we’ll need to keep asking for the codes

Step by step, Australia is inching its way towards more autonomy in defence.

Silentium Defence to launch new passive radar

Silentium Defence has revealed the upcoming launch of a new version of its MAVERICK M-series, a soldier-portable, covert radar system for air defence, land, and maritime surveillance. The company said on social media it would soon make announcements about its Maverick-S 128 system which was about to go operational later this year. It released video…

Six firms share export capability grants

The federal government today announced more than $1.2 million in Defence Global Competitiveness grant funding to boost the export capability of six Australian small businesses. Perth’s Orbital Corporation received $195,624 to expand its production capability for engines and flight componentry for tactical unmanned aerial vehicles. Brisbane-based Gaardtech will use its grant of $166,000 to buy…

EM Solutions wins $15m NATO contract

Electro Optic Systems subsidiary EM Solutions has won a $15 million contract to supply communications equipment to NATO navies. The Brisbane company won orders to supply its new 2-metre Fleet Satellite Communications Terminals to three leading NATO navies. To be fitted to frigates and warships from 2022, the order takes EM Solutions order book to…

EOS Defence to test fire missile firing station

Electro Optic Systems is to test fire a more lethal version of its remotely operated weapon station (RWS), the R600 Missile Carrier (R600MC, pictured) in December at the US Army’s Redstone Test Center in Alabama, according to a report by the authoritative Janes group. EOS Defence USA will fire the R600S which adds four Javelin…

Government presses ahead with autonomous vehicles

The federal government is pressing ahead with development of autonomous vehicle capability, which could have implications for defence, backing innovation efforts by Rheinmetall Defence Australia. Autonomous capabilities were announced yesterday as a new sovereign priority defence capability at the same time Rheinmetall was awarded a grant to support R&D into autonomous technology utilising 5G and…

The digital path to growth – sovereign Australian defence manufacturer NIOA

@AuManufacturing’s editorial series – the digital path to growth – comes to an end today with a look at how a company creating sovereign defence capability from scratch makes the most of data in a secure environment. Here Peter Roberts profiles munitions manufacturer NIOA. For most of its half century in business Queensland munitions manufacturer…

University of SA to lead three-year, $1.8 million high-power laser project

A team led by the University of South Australia’s Professor David Lancaster has been awarded $1.8 million funding to develop the next generation of high-powered lasers for defence and manufacturing use.

New Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities released

The federal government has added new sovereign defence priority areas in recognition of the changing nature of technology for the battlefield. The government’s new priorities are: Robotics, Autonomous Systems, and Artificial Intelligence Precision Guided Munitions, Hypersonic weapons, and Integrated Air and Missile Defence Systems Space And Information Warfare and Cyber Capabilities. Minister for defence industry…

Bartlett to supply canvas products to defence

Ballarat based Bartlett Manufacturing is to supply its hand-sewn canvas tarps to the Australian Defence Force. The company, a manufacturer of woven synthetic fabrics including tarps and blinds, has been awarded ‘a significant contract’ – highlighting the company’s industry leading capabilities and quality workmanship according to a statement. The final contract was executed recently via…

PFG to get $600,000 loan to build prototype boat

The Tasmanian government has announced it will provide a $600,000 loan to PFG Group to assist in a prototype boat for defence. PFG will build an 11-metre ultra-durable vessel, said minister for state growth, Roger Jaensch. This would help the company demonstrate its boat-building skills to the defence sector which it had sought to enter…

Defence industry news briefs – stories you might have missed

$158 million vehicle upgrade for defence The federal government has signed a $158 million contract with infrastructure services grkoup Ventia upgrade the current fleet of ADF engineering vehicles, providing the ADF with a further 291 vehicles. The acquisition and sustainment of the Engineer Support Platforms covers cranes, excavators, bulldozers, loaders, telehandlers, forklifts, graders and rollers.…

Clearbox Systems set for defence communications bid

Defence giant Lockheed Martin Australia has integrated the Foresight ESM software application from software and hardware developer Clearbox Systems into its bid to build a sovereign satellite communication system for defence. The two companies have worked together to minimise technical risk and maximise technical readiness to assure execution of the project on schedule and budget…

Frigate builder seeks shipyard capabilities

BAE Systems Australia Maritime (BAESMA) is seeking EOIs from industry to investigate infrastructure, workforce and shipyard capabilities to ensure the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia is world class. BAESMA and Lloyd’s Register (LR) said that they will work on a program that will help the Australian industry prepare to offer products that meet the…

Austal spreads its ship maintenance wings in US

International shipbuilder Austal is expanding its United States footprint following the award of further contracts to sustain the Littoral Combat Ship fleet on the east and west coasts. The Perth company, which built the Independence class LCSs (pictured) at its Mobile, Alabama shipyard, announced today it has been awarded contracts to sustain LCS warships as…

NIOA invests in Benalla munitions plant

Queensland-based weapons and munitions company NIOA is continuing manufacturing operations at the Government Owned, Contractor Operated (GOCO) Benalla Munitions Facility in Victoria while recapitalising 120mm tank ammunition destined for the army’s M1A1 Abrams tank fleet. The project extends the life of type of M1028 cannister tank ammunition and represents an initial step for future manufacture…

Lethal autonomous weapons and World War III: it’s not too late to stop the rise of ‘killer robots’

Artificial intelligence researchers like me have been warning of the advent of such lethal autonomous weapons systems, which can make life-or-death decisions without human intervention, for years. A recent episode of 4 Corners reviewed this and many other risks posed by developments in AI.

VRA assembles SPIKE Guided Missile Integration Kits

Varley Rafael Australia has begun local production of the SPIKE Guided Missile Integration Kits (SIKs) – the first time the Israeli company Rafael has conducted assembly operations overseas. The kits, which will be integrated into the LAND400-2 Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles, make up the launcher and missile control elements of the SPIKE missile. VRA, a…

Australian developed CEAFAR radar now operational

The Australian developed and manufactured CEAFAR-2L air search radar has reached Initial Operating Capability status mounted aboard the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac Class frigates. CEAFAR, manufactured by SEA Technologies, is an active phased array radar with a unique microwave tile-based design incorporating Digital Beam Forming (DBF) technology. Originally delivered to the navy in 2010, the…

What missile capabilities mean to industry and Australia – by Melissa Price

The federal government has attracted three Australian and several foreign owned consortia to bid for a $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise. Here defence industry minister Melissa Price explains the government’s strategy. Right here and right now, Australia at the centre of an ever-changing and at times challenging strategic defence environment. As…

Defence data to map manufacturing supply chain

The Department of Defence will establish a new technology program this year to help map its global manufacturing supply chains. The department is paying global consultancy Deloitte $660,000 for eight-months work on the program, and revealed the first public details in its new whole-of-Defence data strategy.

Our real sovereign defence manufacturers get bolshie

By Peter Roberts When Nova Systems strategy head Rebecca Humble stood up at a Defence Teaming Centre breakfast in Adelaide early this year, she was angry. I was one of the panellists along with executives from two foreign-owned multi-nationals discussing the state of industry, but what really got up Bec’s goat was what she saw…

Austal wins US contract, joins missile corporation

Perth international shipbuilder Austal has announced new defence contracts in the United States and a move into the guided weapons space, joining other Australian companies in the Australian Missile Corporation AMC) consortium. The company said it would join other Australian businesses which have responded to the federal government’s call for expressions of interest in establishing…

11 firms receive defence industrial capability grants

The federal government today announced more than $8 million in support to 11 Australian businesses through the latest round of Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority (SICP) grants. Minister for defence industry Melissa Price said: “These grant recipients are making crucial investments to improve their manufacturing capabilities, which is supporting Australia’s sovereign industrial base.” The grants are…

Defence scientists learn to collaborate

By Peter Roberts We all know that Australia lags on any measure of collaboration between science and industry, but changes are underway in the defence field. Defence science as we know it today was largely born in the technology spur given Australia during WW2 and the UK’s missile testing centred on the Woomera rocket range…

Delays in frigate construction, but innovation fluorishes

BAE Systems Maritime Australia’s much publicised slippage in timetable for the construction of Hunter class frigates is proving a silver lining for innovation. With the $45 billion program delayer by two years the company’s innovation team is seeking Expressions of Interest from industry to: Investigate manufacturing technologies, materials, coatings, and processes with the potential to…

Infantry fighting vehicle contenders face off at Puckapunyal – video

The two infantry fighting vehicles competing for more than $18.1 billion in contracts from the federal government have faced off against each other in a firepower demonstration at Puckapunyal Military Area, showcasing next-level protection, firepower and mobility. The competitors for the army’s LAND 400 Phase 3 project, Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s KF-41 Lynx and Hanwha Defense…

Army, Spee3D relationship to extend with a new 12-month trial

Metal additive manufacturing technology company Spee3D has announced its partnership with the Australian Army will continue, with an expected further 12-month trial.

Naval Group’s $1 million submarine work package

The pace of preparations for manufacturing the Attack class submarines is picking up with Naval Group Australia releasing $1 million in new opportunities for local suppliers of manufactured and ready-made items for inclusion in the submarines. Released through the Industry Capability Network’s Naval Group portal, the opportunities include 27 separate work packages that comprise 39…

EOS and Nova Systems enter missile race

Electro Optic Systems and Nova Systems have announced another domestically owned consortium – the Sovereign Missile Alliance (SMA) – to respond to the federal government’s ambition for a $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise (GWEOE). The SMA will be owned equality by the two companies and is well placed to manage Australia’s…

Barrett Communications sells radios to US security agencies

Perth’s Barrett Communications has won a number of orders to supply HF and VHF radio communication systems to US government agencies involved in national security. Barrett Communications USA Corp. will supply the Barrett 4050 HF SDR transceiver (pictured) in high power (BC4075) and medium to low power base stations, mobile vehicle configurations and transportable cases…

Naval Group helps women into submarine welding

Naval Group Australia has developed a program to help women develop welding skills they could use during construction of the Attack Class submarines in Adelaide. The company, the government of South Australia’s Skilling South Australia initiative and the Adelaide Training and Employment Centre is offering a new course offering entry-level training in skills needed to…

Serco tests amphibious ship design

Serco Australia has completed tank testing for its provisional landing craft design to meet a federal government call for a replacement of its amphibious vessel fleet. A 1/16th scale model of Serco’s design (pictured) underwent extensive testing involving speed and performance trials in the towing tank at Australian Maritime College (AMC) in Launceston. The AMC…

EOS in box seat to supply space electronic warfare capability

By Peter Roberts One of Australia’s few locally-owned defence prime contractors is in the box seat to respond to a federal government initiative to acquire a ground-based Space Electronic Warfare capability. Canberra’s Electro Optic Systems Holdings, which coincidentally announced today that a subsidiary had been selected to demonstrate spacecraft to ground communications for the International…

Orbital hits $31.2m revenue for the year

Perth drone engine manufacturer Orbital UAV has announced revenues of $31.2 million for FY21 as it ramps up production for global drone manufacturers. The company booked a $1.2 million underlying operating profit for the year and a net loss of $10.8 million. A number of abnormal accounting treatments hit the company, including a US asset…

Quickstep moves into unmanned systems

Leading aerospace composites manufacturer Quickstep has made a move into the drone sector through an investment in unmanned aerial system (UAV) designer and manufacturer Carbonix. The Sydney company has taken an unspecified minority stake in Carbonix which makes the all-electric, fixed wing Volanti drone (pictured) and the Domani VTOL Power Lift drone. The two companies…

LSA wins new contracts on two European navy projects

Hobart-based Liferaft Systems Australia has earned almost $3 million in new contracts, and will deliver marine evacuation systems (MES), large-capacity liferafts and associated hardware to two European navies between 2023 and 2025.

EOS demonstrates RWS system to US military

Electro Optic Systems US defence division has demonstrated the precision and lethality of its Remote Weapon Stations (RWS) to US military observers. EOS Defense Systems USA took part in a live fire and static display at the Crew Served Weapons (CSW) Industry Range Day event on Red Cloud Range, Fort Benning, Georgia (Pictured). EOS displayed…

Maryborough munitions plant construction complete

Construction is complete after 15 months on the new Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions artillery shell forging plant at Maryborough in Queensland. The factory will use state-of-the-art equipment, including a 1200-tonne hot forging press, to produce the world’s most technically advanced 155mm calibre projectiles for Australia and export markets. BADGE Constructions led the building phase for the…

Silentium secures $7.4 million passive radar order

Adelaide-based Silentium Defence has secured a $7.4 million contract from the Department of Defence to supply its MAVERICK M-series passive radar system to the army for capability development and evaluation. Silentium’s MAVERICK M-series is a soldier-portable, covert radar system for air defence, land, and maritime surveillance. It monitors reflections from battlefield radiation sources such as…

Aquaterro to refurbish defence helmets

Melbourne company Aquaterro has won a $35 million contract to refurbish and upgrade the Australian Defence Force’s combat helmets. The five-year deal follows the construction of a purpose-built 5,000m2 Defence Industry Facility by the company in 2020. Aquaterro supplies every state and federal police force and border security agency with a wide range of imported…

VEEM to develop Hunter class frigate propeller

Western Australian marine engineering firm VEEM is to develop a prototype propeller to be fitted to the nine Hunter class frigates now under construction in Adelaide. BAE Systems Maritime Australia has let a contract worth about $180,000 to develop a prototype propeller blade, following an initial feasibility study in 2020. VEEM manufactures a wide range…

Composites’ big future in defence products – by Jennifer Conley

By Jennifer Conley A new study into Australian carbon fibre capabilities will help drive sovereign manufacturing development for future defence projects. Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong members were among more than 50 leading firms, academics and industry groups interviewed for the comprehensive report. The study, commissioned and supported by DMTC, formerly known as the Defence Materials…

Quickstep improves operations in year of modest growth

Composites manufacturer Quickstep Holdings significantly improved internal operations during FY21, a year characterised by modest growth and the loss of a major prospective aerospace contract. The Sydney company announced FY21 sales of $85.1 million, up 3.4 per cent on the prior year. Appreciation of the US$ dampened the year on year growth, with an average…

Applications sought for listing in defence export catalogue

The federal government is calling for Australian defence industry businesses to lodge their applications for inclusion in the 2022 Australian Defence Sales Catalogue. With numbers of companies in the catalogue increasing every year, defence industry minister Melissa Price highlighted the benefits of inclusion. Price said: “The catalogue is a powerful reference for Australian defence businesses…

Defence supply chain review launched

The federal government is to review the program that identifies opportunities for Australian manufacturers to enter the global supply chains of eight large multi-national defence prime contractors. The minister for defence industry Melissa Price today announced the independent review of the Global Supply Chain Program which affects companies supplying large systems to defence such as…

EOS achieves $20m sales to Australian defence

Space, communications and defence manufacturer Electro Optic Systems has notched up sales of more than $20 million to the Australian Defence Force over the past month. The company told investors the contracts cover advanced technology research and development activities in electro-optic sensors, Cobra satellite terminals from its EM Solutions subsidiary and sustainment contracts. “The contracts…

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

DroneShield sells to Australian army, receives US infrastructure order Drone detection and countermeasure company DroneShield has has sold a quantity of its RfOne MKIITM long-range sensors to the Australian Army (pictured). The capability is being delivered immediately to allow the Australian Army to assess its future counter-drone requirements and options. The company has also received…

$20 million innovation grants take defence spend above $300 billion

The federal government is trumpeting forward spending commitment’s for defence passing the $300 billion mark, following the release of the Defence Innovation Hub’s latest contracts. While there are question marks over the future affordability of this outlay, it represents a massive push to replace a huge range of defence equipment since the coalition came to…

Defence seeks RFI to speed sovereign guided weapons development

The defence department has moved to the next stage of its development of a $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise, issuing a Request for Information seeking input from industry and academia interested in participating in the enterprise. Feedback is also being sought on the potential roles that organisations could play to assist…

Bisalloy receives first order for Boxer armour

Wear and armour steel manufacturer Bisalloy Steels has received its first significant order from Rheinmetall for specialised armour steel for the Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle (pictured). Specially developed by Bisalloy to meet the protection level required for the Boxer, the steel has been tested and certified by the German government. It will be used by…

BAE frigate prototyping forges ahead

The first prototype unit to be built up into prototype ship blocks of Australia’s Hunter class frigates has progressed down the ‘pulse line’ at BAE Systems Australia Maritime’s Osborne Naval Shipyard. The pulse line (pictured) is a production line in the Steel and Unit Fabrication Hall at the new purpose-built shipyard where the nine Hunter…

Hawkei issues resolved, gains operational approval

Defence and Thales Australia have resolved a braking issue identified with the Hawkei protected mobility vehicle identified in late 2020, allowing the approval of Initial Operational Capability. Defence minister Peter Dutton said in a statement that the vehicle had reached a significant milestone with a technical solution to the issue being rolled out across the…

Defence industry news briefs – stories you might have missed

Naval Group Australia appoints two new directors Naval Group Australia has appointed experienced public service executive Jane Halton, and Naval Group Executive Vice President for the Australian Future Submarine Program Lilian Brayle, to its Board. According to the company the pair will add public and business sector experience as it delivers 12 new Attack Class…

Stealth Technologies to make drone vehicle for defence

Stealth Technologies will work with the Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG) and the University of WA to design and deliver an autonomous drone that automates detection of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents. Stealth, a subsidiary of investment company Strategic Elements will then conduct a live demonstration for the army of what it is calling…

HMAS Perth back after upgrades – video

The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Perth has returned to the water following an upgrade to radar capabilities, communications systems, and crew areas marking the completion of a major part of the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program. The Anzac class frigate was in dry dock at the Australian Marine Complex at Henderson near Perth. Undocking the…

Defence adds $3m to university cyber research

The Department of Defence has funded three more Australian universities for their work with a US counterpart on cybersecurity research that could one day benefit defence forces.

Equipping Australia’s armed forces -Nurturing sovereign defence capability from the ground up

The final part of our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – looks at some recent programs highlighting the importance of utilising local expertise to solve local challenges. By the Defence Science Institute. The research, materials and approaches used in modern manufacturing are evolving rapidly and transitioning their target markets towards a much more diverse…

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – Novafast piping aboard frigate build

Our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – ends today where we began two weeks ago – looking at the benefits for SMEs of meeting the stringent demands of defence prime contractors. Here Peter Roberts profiles Novafast International. BAE Systems Maritime Australia is working around the clock to commission one of the world’s first…

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – Silentium makes it quiet

As our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – nears its close @AuManufacturing takes a fresh look at a familiar technology – radar. Peter Roberts profiles passive radar developer, Silentium Defence.

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – Strength from Bisalloy steel

Our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – continues today with a look at the interaction between defence and civilian industrial sectors. Here Peter Roberts reports on wear and armour steel producer Bisalloy Steel. Bisalloy is one of those companies that operates in Australia in a niche of one – in this case as…

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – Make Our Future Together by Tom Kenyon

Our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – continues today with an analysis of China and the global political situation. Here Tom Kenyon outlines how collaboration to strengthen strategic supply chains will drive value-adding and manufacturing. If there’s one word that contains some of the hardest challenges the western world will face in the…

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – equipping for future wars by Gregor Ferguson

Our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – asks what war are we preparing for, are we buying the right equipment, is Defence agile enough to be making the right decisions, and is it communicating its strategies with the public. Dr Gregor Ferguson asks the hard questions. So let’s start with the headline figure:…

Sovereign missile developer adds US company to collaboration

The Australian Missile Corp­­­­oration developing an Australian SME led response to the federal government’s call for the development of a sovereign guided weapons enterprise has signed yet another collaborating partner business. AMC, a subsidiary of Queensland munitions and explosives manufacturer NIOA, has added US commercial technology company Mercury Systems Inc to what is becoming a…

Australian Defence Apparel expands in New Zealand

Australian Defence Apparel has secured new contracts to produce wearables for the New Zealand Defence Force, at the same time announcing the establishment of a subsidiary in Palmerston North. The Melbourne company is a leader in the design, manufacture and supply of military wearables, as well as providing managed services to the NZDF through nine…

The Australian AM technology promising to simplify sustainment

Our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – continues with a look at Spee3d, an additive manufacturing SME proving its technology for expeditionary use. Brent Balinski spoke to co-founder Byron Kennedy about their award-winning work with the Australian Army and the potential in defence and other markets.

Universities make breakthroughs in quantum computing

Progress by two international university research collaborations has seen their projects extended by two years with funding from Defence’s Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF). The Australian project teams will receive $2 million each to expand work under the Australia—US Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (AUSMURI) program. Griffith University, the University of Technology Sydney, and the University…

Austal snares third US Navy contract

Perth shipbuilder Austal has snared its third contract from the US Navy in less than one month, announcing it will develop a preliminary design under the USN’s light amphibious warship (LAW) program. The navy envisages a fleet of between 28 and 30 LAW warships to support the Marine Corps from 2023. The requirement is for…

C4 Edge lifts SME capability to new heights

Our editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – continues today with a profile of an ambitious consortium of 23 Australian SMEs developing a complete C4 communications and control system for the army. Here Peter Roberts looks at the C4 Edge consortium. In the last week of November this year a partnership between 23 Australian…

Ocius christens three new unmanned vessels

Uncrewed surface vessel (USV) manufacturer Ocius has christened the last of five USV’s it is building under a $3 million Defence innovation contract. The Bluey, Brizo and Beacon were christened at the company’s factory on the UNSW Randwick Campus. Attending the ceremony were RADM Pete Quinn, Senator Holly Hughes standing in for Hon Melissa Price…

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – the minnow and the defence prime

Our series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – continues today with a focus on deepening relationships between defence prime contractors and relatively small Australian SMEs. Peter Roberts profiles Lockheed Martin Australia and Varley Group. It is easy to trace back the increasing complexity of relationships between foreign prime contractors and local SME suppliers to a…

Two new partners sign on to Australian Missile Corporation-led team

A new consortium formed in response to the federal government’s sovereign guided weapons plans has announced two new partners, Air Affairs Australia and SAGE Group. The Australian Missile Corporation announced the two new partners on Monday. AMC is a subsidiary of munitions and explosives specialist NOIA, and announced its first partners earlier this month. “We are…

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – Rowlands Metalworks surprises on the upside

Our series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – continues today with a focus on flow-on benefits across manufacturing as SME’s improve their capabilities and technologies to supply critical defence equipment. But sometimes it is not about missiles and complex electronics. Here Peter Roberts profiles Rowlands Metalworks. A visit to Rowlands Metalworks in the nondescript Adelaide…

Introducing our new editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces

Today we launch our new editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces. In the middle of an boom in defence spending unprecedented in peacetime, domestic industry is stepping up to play its role. By Peter Roberts. The federal government is on a buying spree – unprecedented in peacetime – to reequip our armed forces, and…

Equipping Australia’s armed forces – don’t settle for less than sovereign by Jim McDowell

Launching our new editorial series – Equipping Australia’s armed forces – Jim McDowell challenges us not to confuse foreign owned companies operating in Australia with truly sovereign manufacturing capability. In fact, he says we should settle for nothing less than Australian owned and controlled.

Australian Missile Corporation Announces More Signings

The Australian Missile Corporation (AMC) has signed up two new SME partners in its collaboration developing an indigenous consortium to develop a sovereign guided weapons enterprise. AMC, a subsidiary of Queensland munitions manufacturer NIOA, has added Milspec Manufacturing and Thomas Global Systems to its partners. They join a collaboration that includes Quickstep, Black Sky Aerospace,…

Australia’s submarine comedy of errors

By Peter Roberts It is getting harder by the day to continue thinking that Australia is not making a hash of our most expensive and complex defence program – building 12 Attack class submarines at a cost of $90 billion. The government has finally given clarity whether three or all six of our Collins boats…

Austal faces civil case over alleged disclosure breach

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has begun civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Perth shipbuilder Austal and its former CEO David Singleton (pictured). Austal revealed it had been notified this morning of the case, which follows an investigation by ASIC of the company’s disclosures to the stockmarket regarding its…

Lendlease to build $101 million facilities for defence vehicles in Brisbane

Lendlease has been a awarded a contract to lead a $101.1 million construction of vehicle workshops, hardstands and shelters at Brisbane’s Gallipoli Barracks.

Pelican Products gains quality tick

Specialty case manufacturer Pelican Products has gained ISO 9001:2015 certification for its Erina, NSW manufacturing facility. The company, which manufactures more than 500 standard sizes of cases used by aerospace companies, military personnel, first responders and outdoor enthusiasts, joins eight other Pelican sites globally with the certification. Pelican’s Australian managing director Christian Nyman said: “In…

Austal snares US autonomous ship development contract

Perth shipbuilder Austal has been awarded a US$44 million ($56.9 million) contract to develop and demonstrate autonomous operation of its Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessels in service with the US Navy. The company, which has a $2 billion plus contract to build 15 EFP ships for the USN at its yard in Mobile, Alabama, will…

Locals EOS and Nioa combine in weapons development

Two of Australia’s leading local defence businesses have joined to further opportunities in remotely operated weapons systems (RWS) and ordinance. Weapons and munitions prime contractor NIOA and Canberra RWS manufacturer Electro Optic Systems (EOS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly pursue opportunities to enhance and support EOS Remote Weapon Stations and weapon systems.…

US Navy commissions new Austal ship design

In a major coup Perth international shipbuilder Austal has been commissioned to design a new class of vessel for the United States Navy. Under a US$3.6 million contract Austal is to prepare a functional design for the new Navajo class Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS, pictured)) which will be constructed for the USN. The…

Defence industry news briefs – stories you might have missed

Another 10 Australians to train at Naval Group France A further 10 Naval Group Australia engineers are departing for Cherbourg, France over the coming fortnight where they will join 40 colleagues working to gather submarine design and industry skills. Naval Group is transferring expertise and knowledge under a Strategic Partnering Agreement, with staff to spend…

Second Australian missile consortium bidding for work

The Australian Missile Corporation (AMC) has emerged as a second fully indigenous bidder for a share of one billion dollars in funding available from the federal government to establish a sovereign missile capability. AMC, part of the NIOA munitions and explosives group, announced the signing of the first partners to the AMC collaboration – composites…

RENK to assemble armed vehicle transmissions

Tracked vehicle transmission manufacturer RENK has signalled local assembly of its transmission systems should the Rheinmetall Lynx infantry fighting vehicle be selected in a competition to supply the Australian army. German-based RENK would assemble and test transmissions in Brisbane should Rheinmetall be successful in its Land 400 Phase 3 bid. RENK’s facility would supply Lynx…

ANCA’s surprise move into defence

Australian machine tool manufacturer ANCA Group could make a surprise foray into the defence sector thanks to Hanwha Defense Australia’s bid to supply armoured vehicles to the army. The Korean company revealed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Korean company Mottrol and ANCA Engineering Solutions of Bayswater in Melbourne. Hanwha will partner with…

Record Tasmanian showing at Land Forces 2021

Tasmania has sent a record-sized delegation of companies to this year’s Land Forces military expo in Brisbane, the state’s manufacturing minister has announced.

Orbital UAV delivers first engine to Singapore customer

Unmanned aircraft engine manufacturer Orbital UAV has delivered the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) engine in a development program for a Singapore defence defence industry customer. The company, which manufactures engines for Boeing offshoot Insitu, is designing, developing and providing initial low-rate manufacturing of multi-fuel engines with the first unit destined for system evaluation and…

Bisalloy steel launches customer branding initiative

Australia’s only manufacturer of quenched and tempered steel plate, Unanderra’s Bisalloy has launched a Bisalloy Built customer branding initiative aimed at users of wear steel. The brand will be available to customers to use as a stamp of quality on their products, including truck bodies and earthmoving attachments, indicating they are made of genuine Bisalloy…

Insitu Pacific and Innovaero combine for UAS systems

Insitu Pacific and Perth’s Innovaero have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to strengthen and support the development of Australian technology for uncrewed aerial systems (UAS). The aeronautical technology company and Insitu, the UAS division of Boeing, will rapidly progress development of its innovative Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) InnovaeroFOX UAS. Insitu Pacific will provide…

Six SMEs get capability boost

Six Australian small businesses will boost their competitiveness with the award of the latest tranche of Defence Global Competitiveness Grants. Laserdyne, Heat Treatment, Acacia Systems, Intellidesign, UNEEK and SMETEC Services will share in $837,000 to invest in building their export capabilities. Minister for defence industry Melissa Price said: “Supporting the export capability of Australian small-to-medium…

Sypaq Fishermans Bend defence autonomy centre will create 280 jobs: Victorian government

Engineering firm Sypaq Systems will establish a new Defence Autonomy Centre of Excellence at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne.

Competition hots up for amphibious capability

Major companies are lining up to compete for a share of a federal government contract to build the army’s next generation of amphibious vessels. Navantia Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia signed a memrandum of understandig today to jointly bid for the $800 million LAND 8710 (Phase 1) program. The program will replace the army’s LARC-V…

SME consortium challenges majors on guided weapons

A group of Australian SME technology companies and manufacturers has challenged the big global defence companies vying for a share of $1 billion in federal funding to develop a sovereign guided weapons industry. While the likes of Lockheed Martin, Thales and BAE Systems have lined up offering their global weapons systems, the group has ambitious…

Barrett Communications awarded export comms contracts

Barrett Communications has won multiple new contracts for High Frequency (HF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) communications systems to be supplied to defence, peacekeeping and government customers around the world. The Perth company is supplying HF and VHF tactical radio communications systems in a multi-million dollar contract for international peacekeeping operations as well as civil…

REDARC wins Singapore government defence order

REDARC Electronics has won a further government export contract to Singapore for the supply of on-board power management and control systems. The Adelaide company, which was awarded a Defence Global Competitiveness Grant in December last year, will supply the government customer in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal. REDARC managing director Anthony Kittel welcomed the ongoing growth…

Stockmarket punishes EOS after Covid affected year

By Peter Roberts Defence, space and telecommunications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems was punished by the stockmarket on Friday with the company’s openness at its 2021 annual general meeting greeted by a 34 cent or 8.1 per cent slump in its share price. The company, a rarity as a locally owned defence prime defence contractor selling…

Hanhwa and Rheinmetall partner with SMEs

Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Australia have both revealed new partnerships involving Australian SMEs for their competing bids to produce infantry fighting vehicles under for LAND 400 Phase 3. Hanwha announced an expanded partnership with CBG Systems as part of the Redback and Huntsman it is offering under the bid. And Rheinmetall has chosen Cook…

EOS partners to manufacture weapons system in Germany

Australian defence, space and telecommunications business Electro Optic Systems is to partner with Diehl Defence to establish a manufacturing line in Germany to serve EU and NATO markets. The company is partnering with the private German defence contractor to establish manufacturing for its stabilised and remotely operated weapon systems (RWS) (pictured) which are sold to…

Naval Group seeks $100 million worth of local tools and equipment

Submarine builder Naval Group Australia has put out a call to source $100 million worth of tools and equipment for the new shipyard being built at Osborne in South Australia ahead of the building of a submarine hull qualification section in 2023. The company is looking for 1,000 different ready-made and custom manufactured items from…

Jemena proposes RET for gas

East coast gas and electricity distributor Jemena is proposing a renewable gas target similar to the Renewable Energy Target to encourage the adoption of zero-emission gases.

Rheinmetall invests in 3D Printing with GoProto

3D scanning and printing business GoProto ANZ has successfully delivered locally printed 3D products to Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) as part of its Lynx armoured fighting vehicle (pictured) bid under defence’s Land 400 Phase 3 program. GoProto, which recently joined with Wysiwyg 3D, engaged with RDA’s Team Lynx using a range of digital technologies to…

BAE Systems Australia technologies for Joint Strike Missile

BAE Systems has upped the ante in its bid for a share of the federal government’s $1 billion Australian Guided Weapons Enterprise with news it has received an order from Kongsberg for an additional 180 Passive Radio Frequency Sensors (PRS) for its Joint Strike Missile (JSM, pictured). This completes the first full rate of production…

Local companies host future submarine tradespeople

Submarine builder Naval Group Australia has launched a new phase of its local host businesses program under which local Adelaide businesses agree to give on-the-job training to workers in key trades that will be required for its Attack class shipbuilding project. The program, which is already delivering on-the-job training to 20 apprentices across South Australia,…

RAAF space division officially announced

A Space Division within the Royal Air Australian Air Force was officially announced on Wednesday. According to a statement, the new division will include personnel from all areas within Defence, reflecting the importance of space, and begin operating early next year.  Air Force chief Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, said space was critical to defence’s operations,…

SA Premier lauds Lockheed Martin economic contribution

Lockheed Martin Australia’s significant contribution to the South Australian economy has been lauded by South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall. Marshall said the company was key employer in South Australia with its contribution growing as the Federal Government’s defence projects ramp up. “I particularly commend Lockheed Martin for the great work they do for young South…

Moog expands factory, aims to make 70 new hires over next five years

Moog Australia has officially opened its expanded factory at Heatherton, as result of what it says is “significant growth” as it begins a multi-phase expansion plan over the next five years and focusses on defence solutions in the Indo-Pacific region.   The $2.7 million expansion was assisted by the Victorian state government, and would create as…

Australian made lightweight x-ray machine earns National Innovation Award

Micro-X’s lightweight, ruggedised x-ray machine for field hospital deployment has won the Land Forces 2021 National Innovation Award.

Steber International delivers science and technology vessel

Taree, New South Wales boat builder Steber International has delivered a new science and technology research vessel which will be used in coastal waters, predominantly Sydney Harbour and Jervis Bay. The R/V Ginan (pictured) is 12 metres long and is part of a $1.8 million project to support defence maritime research. Last month Steber relaunched…

US breathes new life into Austal’s LCS

By Peter Roberts The dozen Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships delivered so far to the US Navy are at the one time shipbuilder Austal’s most successful design yet at the same time the one that has not quite lived up to its promise. The Independence vessels were conceived as a breakthrough ship. It was to be…

Austal delivers two Cape class patrol boats

Perth shipbuilder Austal has delivered two Cape class patrol boats to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard built at its Henderson shipyard in Western Australia. The company delivered the two 58 metre boats, TTS Port of Spain and TTS Scarborough to Lieutenant Commander Francise Paulette Cazoe of the TTCG at a ceremony in Perth today.…

Orbital develops UAV engine for Aerosonde

Perth unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) engine manufacturer Orbital Corporation has delivered an initial prototype of an 150cc engine it is developing for Lycoming Engines for eventual integration into Textron Systems’ Aerosonde system (pictured). Ironically the Aerosonde was originally an Australian development, completing the first trans-Pacific UAV crossing, and the inclusion of an Australian engine would…

Austal delivers Guardian-class patrol boat

Perth international shipbuilder Austal has delivered its tenth Guardian-class Patrol Boat to the Department of Defence for gifting to the Solomon Islands Government. The RSIPV Taro (pictured), built at Austal’s Henderson shipyard, is the second Guardian-class Patrol Boat to be delivered to the Solomon Islands under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, part of Australia’s…

Surge in defence exporter numbers

This year’s Australian Defence Sales Catalogue released today shows the surge in new entrants into the export market is continuing. The fifth edition of the catalogue features 214 Australian small businesses, a 25 per cent increase from the previous edition. Defence industry minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the increase highlighted the growth and…

Celebrating Australian Made – Stealth Technologies

Today @AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – looks at one of the technologies that is changing the face of security and defence thinking – autonomous systems. Here we celebrate a breakthrough in the field by Perth’s Stealth Technologies. Autonomous systems are everywhere threatening to displace manned systems in the defence and security sphere.…

Defence selects Australian camera sensor technology

The defence department has selected a home-grown solution for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to be fitted to upcoming tactical unmanned aerial systems (UAS) purchases. Insitu Pacific Limited and Textron Systems Australia have been selected as the final two companies in the tender evaluation process for UAS systems to be bought under LAND…

Thales tests Australian made rocket motor

French owned defence contractor Thales has conducted a safe test firing of a sovereign rocket motor (pictured), adding to the momentum building behind the manufacture of guided weapons in Australia. The testing of a locally designed and manufactured Jones rocket motor evaluated local rocket motor nozzle design and materials. The Mulwala manufactured Jones rocket motor…

EOS’s breakthrough in becoming Australian prime defence contractor

By Peter Roberts Defence, space and communications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems has reported March quarter results which confirm its progress towards becoming a genuine Australian sovereign defence prime contractor. In Australia our companies are considered at best suppliers to overseas defence primes, but the Canberra company’s 2020 results confirmed in the latest quarter suggest it…

Austal to exit China shipbuilding venture

Perth international shipbuilder Austal is to exit its joint venture in China which has operated only since 2016. The company, which builds multi-hulled aluminium ferries in Australia and Asia and warships for the US Navy, announced it was planning to sell its 40 per cent stake in Aulong Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Guandong Jianglong Shipbuilding of…

Tritium selected for US Army EV development project

Fast DC electric charger manufacturer Tritium has been selected to participate in the Power Transfer Cohort, run by the the US Army Applications Laboratory (AAL) in collaboration with Alion Science and Technology. This program focuses on advancing solutions that will support remote access, rapid recharging, and scalable infrastructure to help the Army move to electric…

DEWC and Gilmour to develop electronic warfare satellites

Electronic warfare group DEWC Systems and rocket manufacturer Gilmour Space Technologies are to collaborate to build prototype satellites equipped with electronic warfare payloads.

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Federal Government invests in Whiskey Alpha watercraft company The federal government has invested $7.35 million in watercraft builder the Whiskey Alpha Project’s development of its next-generation, high-performance watercraft. The investment will support the veteran-owned company’s naval design and manufacturing know-how, which utilises composite material technology and a novel ‘sea blade’ hull to enhance stability and…

New Defence Ready Pilot for Hunter businesses launched

The federal government has announced a $430,000 program delivered by the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) and HunterNet, aimed at helping local companies better compete for contracts.

Defence urges bold new research collaborations

Australia’s chief defence scientist has urged Australian universities and researchers to partner with Defence to support Australia’s “bolder” defence posture, as the government questioned the value of its traditional investment in research.

Lockheed and Thales muscle in on Australian missile manufacturing opportunity

Two of the world’s largest defence contractors, Lockheed Martin and Thales, have joined forces to compete for the opportunity of building an Australian missile manufacturing facility for the federal government. Defence recently began a smart procurement process to select the group that will develop an Australian Guided Weapons Enterprise under a $1 billion federal government…

Space momentum grows as Aussie startups team up

Australian space startups Space Machines Company and HEO Robotics will team up to launch a number of cameras into space to help Defence better identify satellites, as the momentum for sovereign capability in the sector continues to grow.

Burwell Technologies and BAE Systems automate ship blast systems

Abrasive blasting manufacturer Burwell Technologies has been working with shipbuilder BAE Systems Australia to test autonomous robotic blast systems that could be used to help automate construction of Hunter class frigates being built in Adelaide for the Royal Australian Navy. Burwell, which provided an autonomous robotic abrasive blast solution for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, is…

Q-CTRL to demonstrate quantum control technology

Sydney start-up Q-CTRL will demonstrate its performance-boosting quantum computer infrastructure software in a real-world problem at the Australian Army’s inaugural Quantum Technologies Challenge later this month. Q-CTRL derives from research extensively funded by universities and the federal government, and applies the principles of control engineering to power quantum technology. Quantum computing stores information at the…

EM Solutions ships final terminal for ANZAC frigates

Brisbane-based EM Solutions has completed the shipment of its final Cobra terminal for the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac Class Frigates. EM Solutions, a subsidiary of defence, communications and space manufacturer Electro Optic Systems, recently shipped its eighth multi-band satellite communications system (pictured below) for the frigates. Witnessing the over-the-air test of the Cobra terminal for…

SMEs awarded $3.6 million in first round of new defence capability grants program

Grants totalling $3.6 million have been awarded to 12 SMEs under the first round of the Industry Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (ICERA) initiative.

Ipswich acts on local SME defence capabilities

Ipswich City Council has launched an ambitious locally driven pilot program aimed at supporting SME businesses to become defence industry ready. Known as Operation Scale-Up 2021, SMEs will be mentored by defence industry partners including Australian arms of Rheinmetall Defence, Boeing Defence, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Airbus and RUAG. The free program will offer 24 regional…

EOS’s new laser technology for communications and space debris removal

Defence, communications and space technology manufacturer Electro Optic Systems Holdings has announced a breakthrough in the use of lasers for space communications and to track and move orbiting space debris that threatens satellites and other space assets. The Canberra company said the use of a Guide Star Laser and adaptive optics had been shown to…

Government building new Nulka missile production facility

The federal government has announced construction of a $23.9 million facility to build the Nulka anti-ship missile decoy rocket system. BAE Systems Australia is prime contractor for NUlka, one of Australia’s most successful defence exports, which carries an electronic warfare payload sourced from the United Sates. The missiles, mounted on Australian, United States and Canadian…

Raytheon engages with local SMEs to win defence work

US-owned Raytheon Australia’s has selected ten companies to participate in its recently launched industry engagement program that helps small businesses win defence work here and in export markets. The company, which in March opened a major new technical and manufacturing centre in Adelaide, selected these companies for its Capability Plus program: AOS Group, Melbourne archTIS,…

Defence industry skills boost to $39 million program

Defence industry businesses are being given greater access to the federal government’s Skilling Australia’s Defence Industry (SADI) program which offers grants to small and medium sized businesses. The program, which is to cost $39 million over the next two years, offers grants of up to $500,000 with changes to the scheme broadening eligibility requirements for…

Titomic announces new UK JV

ASX-listed metal additive manufacturing company Titomic has announced a UK joint venture with Neos International for production of Invar 36 faceplates using Titomic’s technology.

Manufacturing news briefs – stories you might have missed

Supashock to produce missile launcher for Rheinmetall Defence contractor Supashock will design and manufacture a missile launcher capability for the Rheinmetall BOXER 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (pictured). Under a $10 million contract the Adelaide company will deliver the capability for Boxers being built for the Australian army under the LAND 400 Phase 2 program. Under…

Defence begins process to select missile manufacturer

The federal government has launched a ‘smart buyer’ process to select the company that will develop an Australian Guided Weapons Enterprise as foreshadowed in @AuManufacturing. The Enterprise will operate a guided weapons manufacturing capability as part of planned purchases of a suite of long-range strike and defensive weapons under a $1 billion plan. BAE Systems,…

Modern Manufacturing Initiative grant applications now open for defence projects

The second call for applications this week under the federal Modern Manufacturing Initiative has been made, with these now open for defence projects.

Raytheon’s new Adelaide technology centre includes its first local factory

Defence contractor Raytheon Australia has inaugurated a new Centre for Joint Integration in Adelaide (pictured) which will include the company’s first major production facility in Australia. The new facility at Mawson Lakes, billed as one of the world’s most advanced integrated air and missile defence centres, was opened by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and SA…

Canberra re-announces long-range missiles push, but adds in local manufacturing

Comment by Peter Roberts The big announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Adelaide today – already leaked in advance to every major metropolitan newspaper – is not that Australia will spend $1 billion acquiring long-range missiles for Australian defence forces. That same announcement was made during the Eden-Monaro by-election and reported by @AuManufacturing at…

BAE Systems Australia invests in hypersonic weapons development

BAE Systems Australia announced today that it will invest an additional $5 million this year to speed the development of hypersonic weapons in Australia. The announcement, which follows a government commitment to develop a long-range strike capability, builds on more than $11 million spent on hypersonics and high speed weapon research in Australia in the…

Austal breaks ground on $131m US steel shipyard

Perth international shipbuilder Austal Limited, best known for its aluminium vessels, has broken ground on a new steel shipbuilding facility alongside its naval shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. Funded through a loan from the US Department of Defence of US$50 million matched by company funds, the $131 million facility will prepare Austal to compete for new…

Submarine builder goes digital, cements Adelaide as sustainment site

By Peter Roberts ASC which built and sustains Australia’s Collins Class submarines in Adelaide has embarked on an ambitious project to fully digitise its shipyard operations. It is not clear whether the investment in Adelaide and Perth will put an end end speculation that further major Collins sustainment work could be shifted to Western Australia.…

Six SMEs share grants to boost defence export potential

Six Australian small businesses have shared in more than $1.3 million in federal government grants designed to boost their export potential. Defence industry Melissa Price today announced the latest recipients of grants under the Defence Global Competitiveness Grant Program. Price said: “We are helping businesses around the country to upgrade their manufacturing processes and equipment…

Hypersonic research meets defence prime contractor

Analysis by Peter Roberts It seems the federal government push to involve our typical SME manufacturers with major defence projects is paying off in all sorts of unexpected ways. Australia has been quietly progressing research into flight at hypersonic speeds – faster than five times the speed of sound – for decades. It is the…

Cairns groups to build navy watercraft

Cairns marine engineers Tropical Reef Shipyards and BME NQ will build seven new watercraft to strengthen the Australian Army’s amphibious capability. The 7.5 metre vessels will be built in Cairns under a $4 million contract. The two companies will also provide spares and trailers, as well as operator and maintainer training. Founded in 1977, Tropical…

K-TIG to team up with Korea’s Hanwha Defence in welding

Welding technology company K-TIG will develop advanced keyhole welding techniques for major South Korean defence manufacturer Hanwha Defence Corporation and its local arm Hanwha Defence Australia. Hanwha is the preferred supplier for self-propelled artillery being manufactured for the Army and is shortlisted to supply infantry fighting vehicles under Australia’s Land 400 phase 3 project. Under…

Final five picked for naval drone program

The shortlist has been announced for Block One of SEA129 Phase 5 maritime unmanned aerial system (UAS) program.

Naval Group gives strong assurances of local submarine work

France’s Naval Group has given its strongest commitment yet to spend locally at least 60 per cent of the contract value for the 12 new Attack Class submarines under construction in Adelaide. Inclusion of the figure in the Strategic Partnering Agreement follows the company’s offer in 2020 that a local spend of at least 60…

Submarines contracted to be 60% local

The federal government has concluded drawn out negotiations with France’s Naval Group over the local content of Attack class submarines to be built in Adelaide. Acting defence minister Marise Payne announced today the groups had agreed to amendments to their Strategic Partnering Agreement. This will see Naval Group’s commitment to spend at least 60 per…

Submarine training course launched to upskill Aussie defence workers

Electronic warfare company DEWC is launching the specialised training for workers involved in Australia’s $90billion submarine and shipbuilding project.

More cash for next gen combat system

The federal government is to further expand Defence’s ‘next generation’ combat management system to include more naval platforms. Today’s announcement by defence industry minister Melissa Price expands the Navy’s combat management system to include Maritime Mine Counter Measures and Military Survey Vessels. Price said it would drive the next phase of growth and investment by…

B&R Enclosures moves into defence sector

B&R Enclosures’ has expanded its interests to the defence sector following contracts it worked on for Boeing’s Currawong battlespace communications system. The company manufactured brackets and racks for the Boeing system which provides secure wideband voice, data and video services over wireless and wired infrastructure for land-based Australian Defence Force personnel. B&R’s core business has…

Double boost to shipbuilding workforce

The federal government is backing two new measures to boost the naval shipbuilding workforce. Minister for defence industry Melissa Price announced a $5 million Naval Shipbuilding Training and Upskilling program to assist workers displaced by the Covid-19 pandemic move into naval shipbuilding. And the government has awarded 40 new scholarships to students from the Queensland…

Adexflow moves on Aussie defence opportunities

International IT company Adexflow is set to land in South Australia to take advantage of South Australia’s massive defence procurement pipeline.

EOS trains to build defence capabilities

EOS Defence Systems personnel have completed two weeks training on the operation and maintenance of the Northrop Grumman Mk44S 30mm x 173 cannon. The cannon is used on a number of Electro Optic Systems products, including the R800 Remote Weapon Station and the T2000 turret. EOS Defence Systems CEO Grant Sanderson said: “This training is…

Defence using VR to develop soldier robotic systems

The Defence Department has talked about their cutting edge robotics research that centres on this peculiar ‘igloo’ located at Fishermen’s Bend in Bend in Melbourne. The igloo is a 360-degree virtual reality environment, which can be linked to a robot in a remote location, or in defence-speak, is part of the development of “tactical autonomous…

BAE Systems Australia to upgrade Nulka anti-missile decoy rocket

BAE Systems Australia and the federal government have signed a $150 million contract for the continued development, procurement and sustainment of the Nulka anti-missile decoy rocket. In service on more than 140 surface combat ships in the US, Australian and Canadian navies, Nulka is a hovering rocket that carries sophisticated electronic warfare electronics. Fired automatically…

Dutch considering EOS weapons system for Bushmaster

The 13 Lichte Brigade (13 Light Brigade) and the Royal Netherlands Army Staff Strategy and Planning section have demonstrated how remote weapons stations (RWS) manufactured by Electro Optic Systems in Canberra could increase the firepower of its armoured vehicles. The brigade already has the EOS RWS mounted on the Australian made Thales Bushmaster armoured vehicles…

Thales completes first Medivac Bushmaster

the first of five Medivac variants of the Bushmaster armoured vehicle (pictured) has rolled out of Thales’ factory in Bendigo, Victoria. Destined for the Netherlands, the Medivac is a hospital on wheels built for the battlefield and is is distinguishable as the first Bushmaster with front doors. The $14 million order brings to 100 the…

Samaras beefs up very large steel fabrication

Adelaide steel fabrication specialist Samaras Structural Engineers installed an automated steel fabrication system believed to be the largest in the country. The company has already fabricated the largest of projects, including Adelaide Oval east and west grandstands, Chadstone shopping centre extension, Adelaide Convention Centre stage one and two, One Central Park Sydney and Melbourne Airport…

Boeing to base U.S. jet on Australia’s Loyal Wingman

Comment by Peter Roberts It has been a week of big news for the Australian aerospace industry and Boeing in particular. Boeing is already the most important aviation manufacturer in the country, manufacturing the moveable surfaces for the Boeing 787 all-composite aircraft at its Fishermen’s Bend plant in Melbourne. It is likely to be even…

Boeing Loyal Wingman first flight – video

The Department of Defence has released video footage of the Boeing Loyal Wingman unmanned aircraft’s first flight, at the same time as it was confirmed the government would spend $115 million on a further three aircraft. The prototype – one of three engineered and built in Australia – flew under the supervision of a Boeing…

Successful first test flight for Loyal Wingman

Boeing Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force have announced a successfully completed first test flight for the Boeing Loyal Wingman autonomous plane, the first military aircraft to be designed and manufactured in Australia in over half a century.  

Axiom Precision and K-TIG collaborate on defence welding

Advanced manufacturer Axiom Precision Manufacturing and welding technology group K-TIG are to develop Australian manufacturing capability in advanced welding for the defence sector. The two companies will share $1 million in funding from the Centre for Defence Industry Capability to developed advanced armour and structural welding processes in a new 6,000 square metre facility built…

Cash flow can be a challenge on defence contracts, says SME

Penguin Composites, a north-west Tasmanian company supplying vehicle sets for Hawkei light protected vehicles, has said more could be done to help smaller companies awarded defence contracts. Local paper The Advocate reports general manager Adrian Polden saying there was a lag between costs and revenues when tooling up to supply defence projects, and better support…

It’s full steam ahead for Australia’s submarine construction project – by Gregor Ferguson

With the design phase of Australia’s new Attack class submarines underway and a new shipyard being constructed in Adelaide, Dr Gregor Ferguson takes a hard look at the project and its many critics. No, nuclear is not an option, cost rises have been exaggerated and the project is on schedule.

Austal in new US Navy ship order, ferry delivery

International shipbuilder Austal has been awarded a $295 million contract to build a 15th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) (pictured) for the US Navy at its yard in Mobile Alabama. The Perth company has delivered 12 of the Spearhead class vessels which are based on a 103-metre twin-hulled ferry design, and feature an 1,800 square metre…

Naval Group boosts Australian R&D collaboration

French submarine builder Naval Group has announced a step up in research and innovation with the establishment of a CNRS International Research Lab (IRL) Crossing lab in Australia. The company, which is building Attack class submarines in Adelaide, is the industry partner in the Crossing laboratory along with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique…

Three manufacturers awarded $2.1 in sovereign capability grants

Axiom Precision Manufacturing, M & I Samaras and Jehbco Manufacturing have collectively been awarded $2,092,340 in Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority grants.

Austal USA President resigns following naval ship inquiry

International shipbuilder Austal has accepted the resignation of its US President Craig Perciavalle following the completion of an investigation into cost escalations of Littoral Combat Ships (pictured) the company is building for the US Navy. Investigations by US regulatory authorities focused on Austal USA’s write back of work in progress attributable to the LCS program,…

Working Securely With Defence guide released for suppliers

A guide for small businesses on security practices has been released today, with approximately 40 per cent of companies applying for work in defence not having the necessary cybersecurity measures in place.

Australia and the UK collaborate to improve armour systems

Funding from Australia and the United Kingdom has been revealed for a major research program to improve armour systems for the military. The UK Government announced a bilateral international program to accelerate the integration of advanced materials into military platforms. Funding covers integration of composites, adhesives for structural joining, joining high temperature structures and improving…

Stealth Technologies adds sensors to robot security vehicle

Stealth Technologies is to develop a new ‘sensor stack’ to add to the autonomous robotic security vehicle (pictured) it is developing with Honeywell. The company, owned by listed business Strategic Elements, is developing the systems to make its robot more intuitive and responsive to the environment. As the company told investors the vehicle will be…

Defence responds to concerns about Sydney data centre contract

The Department of Defence has released a statement responding to reports of a contract extension with a data storage provider part-owned by a Chinese consortium.

New program to connect SMEs with global supply chains

The Defence Teaming Centre member organisation of defence companies has launched a new program designed to help SMEs get a foothold in global markets and supply chains for defence, advanced manufacturing and cyber security sectors. DTC’s Team.eX is a specialist business program that helps SMEs develop business maturity and collaborate to build the capacity and…

NIOA breaks new ground with headquarters – video

Defence manufacturer NIOA is breaking new ground with its new headquarters building being constructed in Brisbane. The company, which is also constructing an ammunition manufacturing facility at Maryborough in partnership with Rheinmetall, is having the multi-storey building built using innovative timber technologies. Builder Watpac finished the building structure in only 26 days, using Glulam structural…

Voxon to supply UK submarine building contracts

3D volumetric display technology developed by South Australian company Voxon Photonics is to be used on submarines and frigates being built by BAE Systems in the United Kingdom and Australia. The company will provide the Hunter Class Frigate Program and the UK Submarines business with its bespoke displays to provide 3D visualisation to test situational…

Advanced material projects for defence awarded $1.6 million

Five public/private groups have been awarded a total of $1.6 million for advanced materials projects from the Next Generation Technologies Fund.

Defence scientist develops sensors that can ‘see’ a single photon

An Australian defence scientist is developing systems that ‘see’ single photons of light to build up 3D images in low light conditions or even when an object is partially obscured. The development, by Dr Dennis Delic of the Defence Science and Technology (DST), opens the prospect for manufacturing systems that could allow a Royal Australian…

Infantry fighting vehicle prototypes delivered

Six prototype test and evaluation infantry fighting vehicles have been delivered to the army from the two companies shortlisted to fulfil a multi-billion dollar contract. Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia have each delivered three prototype vehicles – two for evaluation and one for blast testing – as part of a two-year risk mitigation…

Let us help you access defence grants

Advertisement Following recent changes to federal government policy there are two particularly attractive grant opportunities available for Australian manufacturing SMEs, that offer a massive government subsidy to participants: Expert Advisory – assistance on marketing plans, sales plans, accessing new clients, improving operational efficiency and delivery performance, Agile, sales training, engaging with primes, AS9100, Cyber Security,…

AEV develops armoured Toyota truck

Indigenous-owned vehicle customiser Australian Expedition Vehicles has teamed up with a UK company to produce a fully armoured version of the ubiquitous Toyota 4×4 pickup truck, according to reports. AEV and the UK’s Jankel integrated technologies from both companies to produce a protected vehicle with a high wheel clearance according to a report in armyrecognition.com.…

DefendTex drone used in Mali – report

The Australian designed and manufactured DefendTex Drone40 (D40) is being used operationally in Mali according to media reports. The drone, only four centimetres long and launched either by hand or from a grenade launcher, has been deployed with the British Army’s contingent on Operation Newcombe, according to Overt Defense. Several hundreds Drone40s are believed to…

First F-35 officially welcomed to BAE’s Williamtown hangar

The first F-35A was inducted into BAE Systems Australia’s Williamtown maintenance depot at an event on Monday.

BAE and CryoClock to boost JORN radar capabilities

The federal government is to invest in development of ultra-high-precision sapphire clock technology to boost the performance of Australia’s over the horizon radar detection network. The government has awarded a $4.8 million contract to BAE Systems Australia and CryoClock Pty Ltd to develop a more precise timing system for the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN)…

Australia to host international marine robotics competition in 2022

The Maritime RobotX contest for marine autonomous systems will be held at Sydney International Regatta Centre, Penrith in November 2022.

Defence to replace two amphibious fleets

The federal government has continued its rush of announcements this time revealing it will replace two amphibious warfare fleets. An Independent Landing Craft will be delivered to replace the Army’s existing LCM-8 vessels (pictured). And an Amphibious Vehicle will also be built to replace Army’s current LARC-V The government said the replacements would cost up…

10 new Defence Innovation Hub contracts awarded

The federal government has announced 10 new Defence Innovation Hub contracts worth more than $21 million. The contracts include: a $3.7 million contract with Queensland company Downer EDI Engineering to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs) a $2.7 million contract with New South Wales company Spearpoint Solutions for a digital combat helmet $3.1 million in contracts…

Elbit Systems to set up Melbourne defence operation

Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems is to establish a Centre of Excellence for Human and Machine Teaming in Melbourne that will drive the research, development and commercialisation of defence technologies. Elbit develops and supplies a range of specialist technology systems and products that use artificial intelligence, sensors, data and networks in the areas of defence…

Orbital booms on engine sales to Boeing offshoot

Perth’s Orbital Corporation has announced booming sales of $19 million in the first six months of the 2021 financial year as it gears up production of two small drone aircraft engines for Boeing offshoot Insitu Inc. The company revealed revenue of $19 million, up from $11.4 million in the previous corresponding period, as it ramped…

NIOA to supply ammunition for Apache

Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NIOA to support the cannon and ammunition system for the AH-64E Apache armed reconnaissance helicopter. NIOA, supplies weapons, ammunition and technical support for military and security use while Boeing will the AH-64E Apache Guardian to fulfil the army’s armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH) role…

Downer Defence Systems collaborates to develop Muskito system

Downer Defence Systems (DDS) has partnered with Urban Circus, EPE, and Boeing offshoot Insitu Pacific to develop the autonomous Muskito military vehicle (pictured). DDS has been announced as prime systems integrator for the velicle, a Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) concept that will use autonomous systems and machine learning. Once an explosive threat is detected,…

Covid-19 hit defence supplier EOS in December

Disruptions to export logistics chains hit Canberra defence, space and communications manufacturer Electro Optic Systems in December. The company told investors today that planned shipments in December exceeded any other month, making ‘the outcome for the full year unusually dependent on activity in the final weeks of December. “The affected revenue, for which costs had…

Innovation critical for defence – by Gregor Ferguson

By Gregor Ferguson Why is innovation important to a defence force? Because a small country deploying a small defence force won’t derive either an operational advantage or an economic advantage from trying to do the same thing as everybody else, only cheaper. Innovation – in equipment, organisation and process – is the difference between being…

ViDAR system secures contract for test and development by Lockheed Martin

Australia’s Sentient ViDAR system has won a contract for test and development by global defence giant Lockheed Martin for rotary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. The program opens the door to export opportunities and integration with the company’s Sikorsky MH-60R & Lockheed Martin sensor suites. Locally developed by Melbourne’s Sentient Vision, Sentient ViDar (Visual…

$3.4 million in grants awarded to defence SMEs

Eight companies have been awarded a total of $3.4 million under the latest round of the Sovereign Industrial Capability Program. The SICP offers between $50,000 and $1 million in dollar-matched funding to SMEs in defence, for companies contributing to local capabilities, and aims to build the capacity and resilience of Australian small-to-medium sized business. The latest round…

Government orders eight new ships to be built in Perth

The federal government is to spend up to $5 billion to build eight new mine hunter and hydrographic ships in Western Australia, more than the most recent promise of building three ships. The new ships add to the 45 small vessels already being built at the Henderson marine engineering area south of Perth at a…

Defence gets new long-range missiles with Australian industry IP

The federal government is to spend $1 billion on new longer-range missiles for the navy and air force, plugging a significant gap in Australia’s defence capabilities. The purchase of Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles and a decision to invest in developing the Standard Missile surface-to-air missile increases the range of the missile arsenal to more than …

Submarine rescue system contract dumped – report

The Department of Defence has dumped a $388 million contract to develop a submarine rescue system for the Navy’s Collins class submarines according to media reports. Last week ABC news reported that a departmental review has recommended the contract be scrapped, with Canberra likely to have to pay compensation. Phoenix is the prime contractor for…

HMAS Arunta’s first SAM missile firing – picture

Warship Asset Management Alliance has released photographs of HMAS Arunta following the warship’s successful upgrade program at Rockingham, south of Perth. Arunta is the latest Anzac class frigate to undergo a Anzac Mid Life Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade which includes new communications systems, air search radar and sewage and ventilation systems. The photograph shows…

Air Affairs’s Phoenix jet drone deployed in Navy exercises

Air Affairs Australia’s Phoenix jet drone (pictured) has been successfully deployed in firing exercises involving Australia’s three air warfare destroyers HMAS Hobart, Sydney and Brisbane. Two of the Australian-made Phoenix drones simultaneously ‘attacked’ the ships flying in low at 300kts. According to the company: “Both targets flew faultlessly and turned precisely together to initially attack…

Submarine contract turmoil as defence eyes ‘Son of Collins’- report

The Australian Financial Review newspaper has thrown petrol on smouldering concerns about the rising cost of Australia’s future Attack class submarines with claims the government is considering abandoning the project altogether. A story today by Andrew Tillett said Defence officials were examining the possibility of replacing the ageing Collins class submarine with an updated version…

ABT awarded defence global competitiveness grant

Fail-safe vehicle braking systems manufacturer Advanced Braking Technology has been awarded a $240,000 Defence Global Competitiveness grant to further its plans in supplying the defence sector. The company, best known for its sealed braked used in demanding conditions in mining, developed braking systems to be used on the Thales Hawkei armoured vehicle. The grant, from…

Luerssen and Civmec begin fourth patrol boat construction

Luerssen Australia and Civmec have begun welding steel for the fourth Arafura class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) they are constructing for the Royal Australian Navy. The first two OPVs are already under construction by ASC at the Osborne naval shipyard in Adelaide, with the remaining 10 OPVs to be built at marine engineer Civmec’s Henderson…

Victoria backs Hanwha military vehicle bid

The Victorian government has swung its weight behind Korean company Hanwha Defence’s bid to construct military vehicles in Geelong should it win a major defence contract. The government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hanwha to forge a long-term partnership which will support the establishment of Hanwha’s defence manufacturing operations in Victoria. Hanwha is…

A naval and aerospace industry zone for Newcastle – by John Blakemore

John Blakemore suggests moving the Royal Australian Navy fleet base from Sydney to Newcastle, creating a naval industrial zone to match the existing aerospace zone at Newcastle in New South Wales. The former steel city of Newcastle in New South Wales is to be massively transformed once again. The first major disruption was when the…

GaardTech robotic targets sold to Britain

Robotic vehicle target manufacturer GaardTech has secured a large export order for its silhouette targets from the British army. The battle group size formation of target tanks, AFVs and anti-aircraft vehicles will be used in a planned on target live fire training event. GaardTech’s steel targets are built as exact replicas of a military force’s…

Defence industry news briefs – stories you might have missed

F-35A Lightning joint strike fighter achieves operational status Initial Operational Capability (IOC) has been declared for for Australia’s F-35A joint strike fighter fleet. Built by Lockheed Martin, the aircraft will play a crucial role in national security. The F-35 programme was a catalyst for evolving the capabilities of numerous SME manufacturers whch are now part…

After four years of industry focus, defence really is generating SME innovation

Comment by Peter Roberts Canberra has only been pursuing its focus on defence industry since 2016, but after four years it is clear that increased defence spending really is generating significant, fundamental innovation by our SME manufacturers. The latest example, and there have been many reported in @AuManufacturing, comes from Ron and Yvette Allum of…

Terms of reference released for Defence procurement review

Terms of reference have been released for the Department of Defence review of procurement.

SMEs benefit from big defence purchases – Lockheed Martin

By Peter Roberts SME defence manufacturers and employment are among flow on beneficiaries of major defence purchases such as global defence supplier Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning joint strike fighter, according to an economic analysis commissioned by the company. Lockheed Martin’s Economic Impact in Australia, by advisory firm Alpha Beta, now part of Accenture, found that…

New initiative announced partnering industry and defence on AI

The federal government has released a request for proposal, with companies to receive support delivering an artificial intelligence-based demonstrator technology to defence.

Planning for defence industry puts manufacturing modernisation in the shade

Comment by Peter Roberts The federal government continues to impress with its continuing rollout of policies and plans to support the creation of defence industry that can help secure Australia in times of trouble. There is already a suite of policies supporting building industry capabilities, identifying critical sovereign capabilities, assisting SMEs into global supply chains,…

Defence minister praises Collins class subs – so why did we go overseas for a new design?

Comment by Peter Roberts Defence minister Linda Reynolds has praised the capabilities of the Collins Class submarines once derided by a former Coalition defence minister. It went down in history that then minister David Johnston warned in 2014 he would not trust the government-owned defence builder, the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC), to build a canoe.…

HeliMods receives second defence grant in less than a year

Sunshine Coast manufacturer HeliMods has received $150,000 under the Defence Global Competitiveness Grants programme, its second grant awarded in less than a year. The Caloundra company has used its funding to purchase plant and equipment to manufacture large machined components used in the modification and upgrade of military and paramilitary helicopters, according to defence industry…

Air Fab gets $1.3 million Boeing Defence Australia contract to build work platforms

Air Fab has been awarded a $1.3 million contract with Boeing Defence Australia to design, fabricate and supply safety stands used in maintaining the Air Force’s Air Force’s F/A-18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growler planes.

Defence, Tasmanian manufacturer partner on food tech

A Tasmanian food processing business is partnering with Defence, transferring food technology into the private sector.

Going, going, gone with Canberra’s more generous defence grants

The federal government has decided to vastly increase the share it will pay of projects to improve the capabilities of defence industries and develop sovereign capabilities. From 12 November the government will increase its contribution towards projects under three key grants schemes which today are shared 50:50 by government and by industry itself. Co-contributions will…

Kord Defence wins $3.4 million defence contract

Wireless control company Kord Defence has earned a $3.4 million contract through the Defence Innovation Hub.

Uni of Adelaide, BAE Systems, Defence to establish Centre for High Frequency Technologies

BAE Systems Australia, Defence and University of Adelaide have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on HF radar, including establishment of a new Centre for High Frequency Technologies.

$28 million for defence innovation goes to nine new contracts

The Defence Innovation Hub has announced its latest round of grants to industry worth $28 million, with grant funds going to nine new contracts and two existing projects. Two of the recipients, BlueZone Group and QinetiQ, were awarded contracts to further develop promising technologies that have previously received grant funding support. BlueZone Group won a…

SAAB to onshore defence health system business

SAAB Australia is to relocate its global Deployable Health System Design and Development Centre from Europe to Australia following the win of a $370 million defence contract to deliver cutting-edge deployable health equipment. The first five-years of the contract will see Saab Australia enhance the ADF’s clinical health care response capability by delivering more than…

WA government announces defence industry training package

The Western Australian government has announced $18.3 million in programs to build defence industry skills, which it says aims to attract more defence manufacturing work to the state.

Tasmanian drone engine specialist earns $150,000 defence exporter grant

Currawong Engineering has been awarded a $150,000 Defence Global Competitiveness grant, assisting investment in production equipment.

PMB Defence to export submarine batteries

PMB Defence (PMB) has won a contract to supply submarine batteries to the Canadian Government for its Victoria Class submarines. The Adelaide manufacturer, formerly known as Pacific Marine Batteries, will manufacture the lead-acid battery systems at its state-of-the art production, research and development and engineering facilities adjacent to the Osborne Naval Shipyard. Built in 2020,…

Government promises audits, simpler ASDEFCON to boost local participation in defence work

The federal government has promised increased scrutiny of defence project decision-making to increase opportunities for local project suppliers.

$32 million for Defence Innovation Hub

The federal government has announced $32 million in additional funding for investment through the Defence Innovation Hub over the next two years. Billed as part of COVID-19 investment initiatives, the cash will flow to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) that have the potential to enhance defence capability. Since 2016, the Defence Innovation Hub has awarded…

SMEs awarded over $11 m in defence grants

The federal government has awarded more than $11 million in grants to 20 Australian small businesses in the latest round of the Sovereign Industrial Capability Grants Program. 

Second Australian radar system to be developed in Defence contract

Following the success of CEA Technologies CEAFAR maritime radars, Defence Industry Minister Pyne has announced a second company will be encouraged into the radar field.

New Australian SME partnership to make small arms

Adelaide business Lightforce has linked with companies across the world to form vertically-integrated small arms firm Force Ordnance in Australia.