Canberra-based radar company CEA Technologies has signed a formal agreement with the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group to collaborate on the development of next generation radar.
CEA already produces world leading solid state phased array radars which are in service on the Navy’s Anzac class frigates and which are mandated for use on the nine Future Frigates under project SEA 5000.
Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said they now needed to consider what could come after the phased array. “What’s the next game changer in the area? Our job is to be thinking what can we be bringing beyond this type of technology,” he said at the ceremony for signing of the new five-year agreement in Canberra on February 14.
Dr Zelinsky said DST had clever people and could go off and work on new radar technologies, as could CEA. But the rate of change of technology was accelerating and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) was an important although small customer.
“To grow capability and get it to Australia…more quickly and more affordably, we need to be thinking about how to help Australian industry export,” he said.
CEA Technologies was founded in 1983 by former Navy officers Ian Croser and David Gaul to develop radar and communications technology. It is now a world leader, with its radars in consideration in new warship projects in the US, UK and Canada.
Dr Zelinsky said collaborations and partnerships were becoming a fundamental part of how DST did business, with an over-riding criteria to work with the best. “In the past DST’s role has really been a technical risk assessor of CEA’s technology. We were always just putting the ruler over the technology without having an engagement.”
“We have now gone way beyond that,” he added. “We still have that role of doing technical risk but we also have to do R&D. I couldn’t think of a better company to do R&D with than a world leader in radar technologies like CEA.”
CEA chief executive officer Merv Davis said the company had enjoyed a long running relationship with DST Group, and that was fundamental to the success of the Anzac frigate upgrade program.
He said this was an opportunity to generate more expertise and greater capacities to do more faster and that was really the end game. “I don’t see this particular agreement as doing anything other than refining and putting substance that relationships as we take it the next step.”
“This sets on a pathway to develop a range of critical technologies and capabilities, capabilities that are recognised as strategically important to the ADF, capabilities that are fundamentally important now but increasingly in the future.”
“Not insignificantly it reinforces the ability of Australian industry to contribute leading edge technology cost-effectively. It will assist in developing the international relationships that are critically important in this day and age.”