The Australian Government is investing AU$1.6 billion into defence industry and innovation over the next decade, including $640 million to support the development of innovative technologies through the Defence Innovation Hub.
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 Defence Innovation Hub and the Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) are the two initiatives at the core of 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.
The press release states that since its launch, the Defence Innovation Hub has seen a positive response from industry to the existing capability priorities which have been reconfirmed by Defence’s Force Gaps and Opportunities Analysis. The second tranche of investments was announced in July, 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.
Minister Pyne said, “The Defence Innovation Hub was established as a robust program to facilitate and explore the development of leading-edge technology and ideas in support of Defence capability. Research and development (R&D) fuels innovation, so understanding our investment priorities up front will allow industry and research organisations to plan their R&D investments accordingly.”
In the 2017–18 financial year, the Defence Innovation Hub will seek proposals aligned with the six capability streams identified in the Defence Integrated Investment Program: 1) intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, space and cyber; 2) key enablers; 3) air and sea lift; 4) maritime and anti-submarine warfare; 5) strike and air combat; and 6) land combat and amphibious warfare.
Within these six capability streams, the top three priorities for investment in the 2017–18 financial year in priority order are:
Priority 1: Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare, Space and Cyber
These capabilities are critical to maintaining the Australian Defence Force’s decision-making superiority and ability to conduct operations safely and effectively. In 2017–18, there will be an increased focus on ISREW (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare) enabling joint decision support, cyber and joint capability edge.
Priority 2: Key Enablers
Key enabling capabilities include critical infrastructure (such as bases, training ranges, ports and airfields), information and communications technology, logistics, science and technology, health services, and future energy resilience (including national and Defence fuel management).
Defence is seeking innovative proposals for new technologies, improved methods or practices, and better ways of integrating systems to strengthen these enabling capabilities.
In 2017–18, key enablers adds a focus on autonomous identification technologies.
Priority 3: Land Combat and Amphibious Warfare
Land forces require the mobility, firepower, protection and situational awareness capabilities to deploy quickly, achieve their objectives, and return home safely. Defence is seeking innovative submissions for leading-edge equipment to bolster land forces in these capability areas, including amphibious warfare.
In 2017–18, land combat and amphibious warfare will add an increased focus on special operations capabilities.
Featured image: Lance Cpl. Joey Holeman