Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne has announced the federal government’s priorities for defence innovation investment as being: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, space and cyber; key enablers; and land combat and amphibious warfare.
This announcement heralds a new era of partnership and collaboration between Defence and Australian industry, according to Minister Pyne, with $640 million set to be spent on supporting the development of innovative technologies through the new Defence Innovation Hub.
This will invest seed funding intended to fuel innovation in the Australian defence industry in the areas of:
- intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, space and cyber, for example, improving intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination and cyber innovation to support intelligence capability development;
- key enablers such as critical infrastructure, ICT, science and technology, for example, developing a secure platform allowing senior officials to communicate across different domains; and
- land combat and amphibious warfare, for example, individual soldier systems, mobility and manoeuvre operations, physical protection, command, control and communications, and sensors that enhance awareness of the operating environment.
These priority areas are for the 2016-17 financial year, and are subject to change as requirements dictate.
“We will drive growth in defence industry and innovation whilst focusing on the capability needs required to ensure Australia’s national security now and into the future,” Minister Pyne said.
“To build on the success of Australian industry and research organisations in delivering cutting-edge technology that supports the Australian Defence Force, Defence must work in a closer partnership. Research and development fuels innovation, so understanding our innovation priorities up front will allow industry and research organisations to plan their R&D investments accordingly.
“Large companies and small to medium Australian businesses now more than ever will have opportunities to be involved in the endeavours and challenges that are on offer, whether it be from services required in maintaining Defence bases to being involved in the cutting-edge technologies being developed as part of the naval shipbuilding program.”
The Defence Innovation Hub is expected to be launched later this year, at which time proposals will be able to be submitted online through a new Defence Innovation Portal.