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Business Bulletin, 22 Sep 2021

By Leo D’Angelo Fisher

© Commonwealth of Australia 2020

Top stories:

  • University of Adelaide welcomes AUKUS opportunities

  • Indigenous company to deliver new RAAF Base Darwin facility

  • Defence autonomy centre at Fishermans Bend

University of Adelaide welcomes AUKUS opportunities

The University of Adelaide says it is “primed” to maximise opportunities for education and research presented by the new AUKUS security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The centrepiece of AUKUS is provision for Australia to obtain nuclear-powered submarines. Australia will become just the seventh nation to operate nuclear-powered submarines, after the US, UK, France, China, India and Russia.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Anton Middelberg says the university will contribute to skills and research needs arising from the pact.

“We will use our long history of engagement with the defence sector to be a driving force at the centre of the research and education opportunities that this new partnership presents,” Professor Middelberg says.

“Our existing capabilities in defence research will be brought to bear to educate the future workforce [and] to acquire skill-sets across a range of disciplines that will be required by the defence industry.”

The university’s expertise includes radiation sensor technologies, design, construction and testing of nuclear-powered submarines, and the handling of intermediate-level waste storage facilities. World-class defence research is also being undertaken in the fields of artificial intelligence, quantum and cyber technologies and critical minerals.

“[T]he University of Adelaide is respected globally and is uniquely positioned to help lead research with AUKUS partners in industry and academia,” Professor Middelberg says.

The university expects to adapt its course offerings to the opportunities opened up by AUKUS.

“We will investigate opportunities to tailor existing undergraduate courses and develop new graduate courses that support a workforce ready to contribute to defence industry,” Professor Middelberg says.

Existing degree programs will be strengthened with new international collaborations, according to the university.

The AUKUS pact has created a major diplomatic row with France, which has lost a deal with Australia to build 12 diesel-powered Attack Class submarines to replace the ageing Collins Class fleet.


Indigenous company to deliver new RAAF Base Darwin facility

Indigenous construction company Tiwi Partners has been chosen to deliver a $7 million explosive ordnance storage facility at RAAF Base Darwin.

Tiwi Partners – a partnership between Tiwi traditional owners and Darwin-based construction company Sitzler – will employ 95 workers during the project’s construction phase, with 96% of sub-contract work earmarked for businesses within 50 kilometres of RAAF Darwin.

The project includes the construction of a special-purpose earth-covered building within the existing explosive ordnance precinct at RAAF Base Darwin to support the Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels.

The contract is part of the $2.1 billion Navy Capability Infrastructure Sub-Program, which delivers maritime and landside facilities across Australia.

Tiwi Partners’ business model includes the training and employment of Tiwi people. As a business registered with Supply Nation – a database of verified Indigenous businesses – Tiwi Partners works with Tiwi enterprises and other approved Indigenous businesses wherever possible.

Another Indigenous business, Brisbane-based construction and facility maintenance company Kennelly Constructions, has been awarded a $3.8 million contract for works at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane.

The works will include the replacement of the original hardstand at Gallipoli Barracks to enable the second Combat Engineer Regiment to move its plant equipment with minimal heavy vehicle movement. Construction is expected to be finished by August next year.


Defence autonomy centre at Fishermans Bend

Engineering and systems integration company SYPAQ Systems has opened the SYPAQ Defence Autonomy Centre of Excellence at its new Melbourne headquarters in the Fishermans Bend innovation precinct.

The centre will focus on the development of technologies and intellectual property related to autonomous systems, sensor systems, military systems integration, artificial intelligence and cyber security.

The SYPAQ Corvo family of autonomous systems builds upon SYPAQ’s aerospace engineering expertise, harnessing the company’s GNC (guidance, navigation and control) and software development capabilities.

Corvo autonomous systems deliver a range of air, land and maritime platforms.

These include the Corvo X next-generation small unmanned aerial system (UAS); the Corvo Samson maritime optimised heavy-lift UAS; the Corvo PPDS (Precision Payload Delivery System); the Corvo NanoMR and NanoFW family of nano UAS that leverage artificial intelligence to deliver intelligent network effects and independent mission teaming; the Corvo Ground Control Station (GCS) which provides command and control functionality as well as payload data visualisation and processing in a single compact tablet; and the Corvo USV family of unmanned surface and subsurface maritime vessels.


Leo D'Angelo Fisher is a regular columnist and Editor-at-Large at Australian Veteran News. Connect with him on Twitter: @DAngeloFisher.

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