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The Commonwealth government has invested in a major collaboration between industry and academia aimed at developing advanced defence technology, including hypersonic capability.
The University of Adelaide has partnered with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to lead a new $238 million defence research and development (R&D) initiative, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday (20 April).
The collaboration aims to fast-track the development of 100 new defence products and capabilities, with a specific focus on autonomous technologies, hypersonics and high frequency technologies.
The Commonwealth government has pledged $50 million via the Trailblazer program, with the University of Adelaide, UNSW, and their industry partners collectively committing $188 million in co-investment.
The initiative is tipped to generate approximately 1,000 new jobs over the next four years.
Among the industry partners participating in the program are BAE Systems Australia, Supashock, Greenroom Robotics, and Silentium Defence.
“Our national economic plan is supercharging Australia’s research and development, creating more jobs and helping build a stronger economy for a stronger future,” Prime Minister Morrison said.
“We are investing $270 billion in building our sovereign defence capability, creating jobs right around the country, and through our Trailblazer program we will now back in Australia’s brightest and best to develop new defence industry technology and products.”
Acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert said the co-investment from both industry and academia is a reflection of their commitment to bolstering sovereign capability.
“The investment of industry partners, and especially by the 35 partner small businesses, shows that our homegrown defence firms are hungry to innovate and to help secure Australia in the increasingly uncertain Indo-Pacific strategic environment,” Minister Robert said.
“This project will help harness the cutting-edge defence research being done in our top universities and ensure that our defence forces have access to defence technology at the global cutting-edge, including applications of quantum materials, hypersonics and robotics.
“This Trailblazer funding means more jobs right here in Australia, a stronger economy and stronger national defence.”
BAE Systems Australia CEO Ben Hudson welcomed the opportunity to participate in the program, with the company set to leverage its national Red Ochre Labs Research and development centre.
“Collaboration across these technology areas and significant investment in R&D will have the benefit of speeding up the evolution of existing technologies where Australia is leading the world and the development of new technologies for the Australian Defence Force,” Hudson said.
“We are delighted to have partnered with the University of Adelaide and the University of New South Wales on this program.
“There is still significant work to do to ensure that some of the toughest technology challenges are solved so that we can enhance Australia’s Defence capabilities.”
By: Charbel Kadib
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