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Xtek awarded $27 million defence contract for drones
Xtek has received a $26.9 million purchase order from the Australian Department of Defence for new small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS), it announced on Thursday. The purchase took the value of orders in hand for its technology division to $35 million, with $47 million in revenue already recognised this financial year, according to the company. CEO Scott Basham said the new order for a mixed fleet of AeroVironment drones would deliver “significantly enhanced tactical reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities” for the Australian military. He added: “This order, combined with the current backlog of Technology Division work that we expect to progressively deliver over the course of the next seven months, will already see XTEK achieve record turnover in excess of $82 million for FY23.” Xtek also said that, with seven months remaining this financial year, it was actively pursuing a “strong pipeline” of opportunities in its ballistic armour division.

The Group of Eight (Go8) universities has welcomed the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, the bill of which was introduced to parliament yesterday, saying that it would boost Australia’s sovereign capability in critical sectors. According to the group of the country’s elite universities, the legislation is “a vote of confidence in Australian ideas, innovation and research.” “Our researchers are consistently making ground-breaking discoveries in medical science, renewables and low emission technologies, defence capabilities and enabling capabilities across robotics, AI and quantum, and others, said (Go8) CEO Vicki Thomson. “Strategic investment in priority areas will underscore Australia’s strengths and boost the commercialisation of innovation and technology, which in turn supports new and emerging industries.”

ARENA marks ten-year anniversary 

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is celebrating its ten-year anniversary, the agency said in a statement this week. ARENA celebrated the milestone at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday, alongside the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). which is also a decade into its existence. ARENA was established by the federal government on July 1, 2012, and has so far supported 632 projects with $1.96 billion in grant funding, leading to a total investment of almost $8.81 billion in the country’s renewable energy industry. An early achievement for ARENA was helping to kickstart the large scale solar industry in Australia, having funded some of Australia’s earliest large scale solar farms, it said, helping to significantly bring down the cost of large scale solar PV to the point where solar is now the cheapest form of energy available in Australia.

STA makes case for battery manufacture

Federal politicians heard that Australia needs to seize the moment to become a global battery manufacturer to power the next wave of renewable energy development at an event this week organised by Science & Technology Australia. The “Clean, Green, Energy Technologies” event enjoyed a “huge turnout from Parliamentarians” according to STA, including industry minister Ed Husic, shadow science minister Paul Fletcher, housing minister Julie Collins, and independent MPs Zali Steggall and Allegra Spender, and Senator David Pocock. A panel presentation “highlighted that the technology that powers the world’s solar panels was developed in Australia more than three decades ago” though was commercialised overseas, and that Australia “has the resources and expertise to develop onshore battery manufacturing, but without the right policy settings and sufficient market capital there was a risk that this intellectual property, too, could be developed by our economic competitors.”

Picture: Professor Lachlan Blackhall of The Australian National University; Director of storEnergy Professor Maria Forsyth; ARC Future Fellow, Superstar of STEM and hydrogen expert Dr Jessica Allen; and the Executive Director of Original Power and Yorta Yorta descendant Karrina Nolan (credit STA)



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