Business Hightlights, Oct 2021

By Leo D’Angelo Fisher


© Commonwealth of Australia 2020

Top stories:

  • $747 million NT training facility upgrades to deliver 2000 jobs

  • Thales retains torpedo maintenance contract

  • Companies benefit from defence innovation fund



$747 million NT training facility upgrades to deliver 2000 jobs


Darwin-based construction company Sitzler has been appointed managing contractor for the $747 million upgrade of facilities at four Australian Defence Force (ADF) training areas in the Northern Territory.


The five-year Northern Territory Training Areas and Ranges Upgrades Project is expected to employ 2000 over the course of the upgrades.


Sixty-five sub-contractor packages will be available for tender. Sitzler says 98% of the construction sub-contractor packages will go to businesses in northern Australia. The company has also set an Indigenous participation target of 4% for Indigenous businesses.


Construction works will start at Robertson Barracks Close Training Area and Bradshaw Field Training Area. Staggered works at Kangaroo Flats Training Area and Mount Bundey Training Area will follow.


The project is part of the United States Force Posture Initiatives program and will enhance the levels of integration between the ADF and defence partners in the Indo-Pacific, including the US Marine Corps.


Construction is expected to be completed in 2026.

 

Thales retains torpedo maintenance contract


Thales Australia has been awarded a $20 million contract for the maintenance of the Royal Australian Navy’s advanced lightweight anti-submarine torpedo in Western Australia.


Thales will continue with the in-country, in-service technical support for the MU90 Light Weight Torpedo at its Rockingham facility in Perth.


The RAN has used the MU90 Light Weight Torpedo since 2013. Thales has held the support contract since that time.

 

Companies benefit from defence innovation fund


Australian defence technology innovation has received a major boost under the federal Defence Innovation Hub program.


Engineering and technology company QinetiQ Australia has been awarded a $5.4 million contract to develop a deployable microgrid that will help address increased demand for power on the modern battlefield.


QinetiQ has partnered with the University of Melbourne to develop the technology.


Using advanced energy management algorithms, QinetiQ’s technology will offer a deployable microgrid that will provide the ADF with access to power on the battlefield.


Such technology is considered vital to counter emerging threats and challenges such as the “grey-zone” tactics of espionage, cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns.


Engineering and technology company Leidos Australia has been awarded a $1.6 million Defence Innovation Hub contract to develop fibre-optic methods of conducting underwater reconnaissance.


Leidos will partner with Perth sensing technology company Terra15 and the University of Melbourne’s school of engineering to develop the maritime security technology.


DMTC Limited, formerly known as the Defence Materials Technology Centre, has been awarded a $3 million Defence Innovation Hub contract to develop technology that will improve the protective equipment used by the ADF.


DMTC will use textile technology to develop a lightweight prototype chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protective suit with the potential to reduce heat exhaustion and fatigue during arduous activities.


Brisbane robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) company Cyborg Dynamics Engineering has been awarded a $3.3 million Defence Innovation Hub contract to develop a semi-autonomous unmanned combat vehicle.


Cyborg’s unmanned vehicle will integrate an array of supporting Australian technologies into a modular, robotic platform. If successful the vehicle would enhance the load carriage, fire support capabilities and protection of dismounted soldiers.


The project will also explore on-board AI target recognition and advanced driving technologies that could allow for single-person operation. This would enable the all-terrain platform to improve in-field soldier capabilities, ultimately reducing operator risk by providing a robotic-assisted force.


Industry and research organisations can submit proposals for Defence Innovation Hub funding at www.innovationhub.defence.gov.au

 

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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