The Royal Australian Navy and Queensland company EPE have shown off new technology able to detect explosives, chemical weapons and drugs at standoff distances.
Defence Industry Minister Steve Ciobo said the RAN and EPE had conducted a test at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin to showcase performance and functionality of a Maritime Portable Raman Improvised Explosive Detector (PRIED) prototype.
This enables explosives, drugs and other agents to be detected on suspect vessels before RAN boarding parties go aboard.
Ciobo said this technology was developed through a partnership between Brisbane-based EPE and the Defence Innovation Hub.
“Innovation is vital to the future of Australia’s defence industry. Today’s demonstration is a display of collaboration at its best with Australian innovators and Australian Defence Force personnel working together in an effort to deliver the best innovation in defence capability,” he said.
“Investing in good ideas and turning those into defence capability is at the heart of the Defence Innovation Hub’s aim – and doing this in partnership with Australian industry is helping to enhance the Australian industrial base.”
In February EPE signed a $1 million contract with the Defence Innovation Hub to further develop the baseline PRIED system to enable its deployment in the maritime environment.
The Minister said the Maritime PRIED prototype’s objective was to provide increased awareness and protection through a standoff detection capability.
PRIED can detect explosives, chemical warfare agents, narcotics and gases.
Ciobo said the Defence Innovation Hub partnered with innovators to provide opportunities for funding to further develop and prove technology to support Defence capability.
He said the government was delivering the largest modernisation of the Australian Defence Force since the Second World War.
“We are investing $200 billion in our capabilities to not only keep Australia safe but to continue to grow our industry and economy. Industry and research organisations can submit innovation proposals through the Defence Innovation Portal at www.business.gov.au/cdic,” he said.