The Australian government has announced the second tranche of Defence Innovation Hub investments worth AU$12.3 million, looking at the exploration of innovation technologies from unmanned undersea glider for surveillance to quantum cybersecurity and 3D sensors for threat monitoring in conflict zones.
The full list of explorations being funded is below:
- The feasibility of a novel, high-performance autonomous glider for long-endurance undersea surveillance (Ron Allum Deepsea Services; AU$3.17 million)
- The feasibility of the establishment of highly secure communications links between two points, both fixed and over line of sight free space; this is related to threats for Defence’s current secure communications from the imminent arrival of quantum computing capabilities. (Quintessence Labs; AU$3.26 million)
- The feasibility of developing a functioning hot fire training system using haptic (touch) force feedback, high fidelity visuals, and realistic heat experience to improve fire fighting training for Navy. The combination of technologies is unlikely to have occurred elsewhere in the world (Deakin University; AU$2.16 million)
- The feasibility of an affordable re-usable supersonic sea skimming target missile designed in Australia, with the potential of offering a world leading capability optimised for the Australian Defence Force (Grollo Aerospace; AU$1.93 million)
- The feasibility of the development of a cyber-threat intelligence capability that could assist enterprise and mission systems in identifying and treating potential adversary exploitations (Data to Decisions Co-Operative Research Centre; AU$1.05 million)
- The development of an innovation that will use machine learning technology for autonomous identification and modelling of electronic threats (Saber Aeronautics Australia; AU$275,000)
- The development of software based systems that effectively train networks to learn how to interpret non-standard intelligence products and convert them to comply with appropriate format standards (SYPAQ Systems; AU$274,000)
- The development of 3D sensors that have been used in the mining industry for potential use by the Australian Defence Force for threat monitoring in conflict zones, for instance through identification of areas of ground disturbance where IEDs, or other threats, might be hidden, and identifying recent enemy movements based on 3D scanning of changes to terrain (Trang Imagineering; AU$218,000)
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said, “This investment will see a number of organisations across Australia benefit from this initiative to develop game changing defence equipment. It will help support a number of local jobs across Australia and keep local defence industry involved in the latest innovation for Australia’s defence.”
The Defence Innovation Hub was established in December last year to facilitate and nurture the development of innovative technology and ideas in support of Defence capability.
The Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) and the Defence Innovation Hub form the core of a new integrated defence innovation system for Australia, as outlined in the Government’s Defence Industry Policy Statement. A number of Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) are being set up under the NGTF. NGTF has been allocated an investment of around AU$730 million till June 2026, while the Defence Innovation Hub will receive around AU$640 million over the decade to FY 2025–26.