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.

A statement from defence industry minister Melissa Price on Tuesday said that five of these (totalling $5 million) were focussed of the health and safety of Australian Defence Force personnel, including a $1.68 million contract to ECLIPS Logistics of Canberra, which will further development of its robotics systems for artillery handling.

The other five contracts announced as part of the round would “develop innovations to strengthen Defence capabilities”.

The largest of those was awarded to castings specialist A.W. Bell, which has a heritage in the automotive industry and nowadays creates complex metal products for aerospace, defence, biomedical and other sectors. The company was recently named joint winner in the manufacturing category in last year’s Australian Export Awards. 

A.W. Bell earned a $5.88 million contract to develop “world-leading high grade titanium casting system for in-service aircraft.”

“We are also investing $1.13 million through a contract with Queensland company, EPE to develop a device that can be installed on uncrewed systems to detect chemical and explosive threats and keep our soldiers safe,” added Price.

The Defence Innovation Hub was announced in 2016 under the former Turnbull government’s Defence Industry Policy Statement, and provides most of its contracts to SMES to support technology developments that “are ready to enter the engineering and development stages of the innovation process.”

Last week it was announced that the Hub’s three new key focus areas from July will be in guided weapons and explosive ordnance, integrated air and missile defence, and undersea warfare.

Picture: AW Bell/AAMC

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A full list of the ten new contracts is reproduced below.

Organisation State Contract Value

(GST incl.)

Description of innovation
A.W. Bell Machinery Pty Ltd VIC $5.88


To develop a world-leading high grade titanium casting system for in-service aircraft that could enhance Air Force capabilities.
Jenkins Engineering Defence Systems Pty Ltd NSW $5.66 million To continue the development of a cost-effective maritime radar electronic support system that could provide automated warnings on the detection of potential threat signals from platforms operating in the same area as the host vessel.
Agent Orient Software Pty Ltd VIC $3.33 million To continue the development of an enhanced version of Agent’s intelligent software system that could offer advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications that aid and enhance decision making capabilities.
IAS Asia Pacific Pty Ltd VIC $2.44 million To develop a multispectral optical radar using advanced sensors and algorithms for enhanced object detection that could provide aircraft systems with the ability to conduct extensive wide area search operations across multiple defence environments.
Prism Systems Pty Ltd SA $1.81 million To develop a digital precision approach system for aviation systems, that could utilise ship and aircraft navigation systems at night and in poor visibility to improve platform safety in a cost-effective manner.
ECLIPS Logistics Pty Ltd ACT $1.68 million To develop an advanced autonomous robotic system for Defence artillery that could reduce the challenges of manual handling requirements and safety risks to ADF personnel, while speeding up resupply.
EPE Pty Ltd QLD $1.13 million To develop a handheld explosive detector that can be integrated onto uncrewed systems to assist with the detection and classification of chemical and explosive threats to reduce risk to ADF personnel.
Mincham Aviation Pty Ltd SA $1.12 million To develop a deployable payload delivery system that could be launched from a variety of platforms to strategic equipment in a desired target location.
Invicta Prospectus Group Pty Ltd NSW $290,000 To develop a unique software system incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning that could improve Defence operational decision making and enhance personnel health and safety.
Moog Australia VIC $257,000 To develop protection systems for next-generation armoured vehicles to significantly improve vehicle and soldier survivability.

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