Australia – Government invests $13 million in research and development for Defence

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, today announced that innovative Australian research projects involving helicopters, objects in space, sonar analysis and solar energy had been selected to receive combined funding of $13 million.

Five projects were selected out of 119 submissions received under Round 15 of the Defence Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program.

“In supporting these proposals we have the potential to advance Defence capability, produce innovative products for Defence and civilian use and stimulate Australian industry growth,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Defence is proud to be supporting Australian business in developing these innovative products, which range from a light-weight energy system for powering a soldier’s combat equipment to a detachable device that can keep helicopters afloat during maritime emergencies.” (Full list of projects attached)

“I am especially pleased to note the five successful proposals have come from small and medium enterprises and I congratulate the companies involved for supporting innovative research and development technology,” Mr Snowdon said.

The CTD Program, managed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and sponsored by the Capability Development Group, supports Australian industry in demonstrating new technologies that have the potential to contribute to Defence capability.

Since the program began in 1997, Defence has invested $237 million in 99 projects. Of these, 72 projects have been completed successfully, 11 projects have transitioned either into service or as a contender for a major project, and a further 11 have transitioned into funded CTD Extension or CTD Transition Projects.

These are very good results for high-risk research and development projects that benefit Defence and Australian industry.

Media Contacts:
Mr Snowdon’s Office: Alice Plate 02 6277 7820 or 0400 045 999
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999

Background on 5 proposed technologies (CTD Round 15)




1. Nanoparticle-Hydrophone Development

This proposal has the potential to improve underwater sonar sensing for ships, submarines and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV). The small pad-like devices could be installed in large numbers on the hulls of vessels, reducing the overall size of the vessel by eliminating the need for bulky sonar structures and taking the place of sonar array cables.

Phoenix Engineering
Systems Pty Ltd
(Engineering and business consulting company offering practical solutions  for the Defence industry)

With Thales Australia
(A prime Australian Defence contractor)


2. Active Pulse Analysis System (APAS)

This proposal aims to develop an advanced underwater detection and analysis system as well as innovative displays to enhance a vessel’s sonar sensing capability. The APAS would allow automatic scans of the large amounts of information collected by a ship’s sonar to detect targets and to asses the type of detection, allowing the operator to decide which signals need further attention.

Sonartech Atlas

(Leading submarine sonar house specialising in design, manufacture and support of underwater sonars)

Sydney (NSW)

3. Integrated Power System for Dismounted Combat

This technology seeks to reduce the weight of batteries a soldier needs to carry to power equipment such as GPS systems and radios for communication. It also aims to reduce the complexity of the power system. Foot soldiers are increasingly reliant on electronic devices which require battery power but they increase the weight a soldier has to carry. The proposal would integrate flexible lightweight power generating solar cells, more efficient power storage technology and power generating electronic textiles, and apply smarter techniques for managing the power requirement.

Tectonica Australia Pty Ltd

(Defence and security systems integrator specialising in developing fully integrated systems for soldiers, armoured vehicles and related capabilities).

With Australian National University and CSIRO.

Melbourne (VIC) & Canberra (ACT)

4. Pegasus Aircraft Buoyancy System

This proposal will demonstrate a lightweight, detachable emergency floating device for the Australian Army’s fleet of helicopters. With the introduction of new LHD (Landing Helicopter Dock) ships, Army will operate helicopters from naval platforms. Therefore a capability to enable a helicopter to remain afloat after ditching in the sea is vital for the survival of the crew. The Pegasus concept aims to keep an aircraft up to 10 tonnes in weight afloat. The system will weigh less than 50 kg and provide quick and easy attachment. It will have the capability to lift the aircraft to the sea’s surface from a depth of up to 10 metres and will operate automatically or under pilot control with no wired connection to the aircraft.

L-3 Nautronix 

(specialist provider of maritime systems and solutions for surface and undersea defence applications, including acoustic and through-water communications)

With AADI Defence Pty Ltd 

(Consortium of experts

providing strategic, technical and commercial advice,
facilitation and advocacy for defence companies)

Perth (WA) and Melbourne (VIC)

5. Integration of EO/Laser Space Object Tracking Capability

In this concept it is proposed to develop a system that can significantly improve the ability to track objects in space. It would provide considerable improvements to existing and planned space surveillance systems. Better accuracy and reliability will mean greater protection of operational satellites from colliding in space.

EOS Space Systems Pty Ltd

(Specialises in the design, development and production of electro-optic technology systems for the space and defence sector).

With Northrop Grumman International.

Canberra (ACT)

Press release
Ministerial Support and Public Affairs,
Department of Defence,
Canberra, Australia

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