A dedicated Defence Technology Accelerator program will address key gaps in the defence manufacturing ecosystem to best equip the Warfighter, says ARM Hub CEO Cori Stewart.
“There is an urgent need to harness the power of technology to support Australia’s defence capability to be better protected, mobile, and connected,” Dr Stewart said.
She said Australia’s manufacturing industry and SMEs are rich in ideas and vision but face major hurdles in engaging with Defence.
“The Accelerator will enable emerging technology providers to develop, demonstrate, and scale-up delivery of innovative Defence solutions in a rapid development process, which is something we don’t have access to at this time.”
Dr Stewart’s call for funding of a Defence Technology Accelerator was supported by Griffith Defence Network’s Professor Adam Findlay AO, Major General (Retired).
“The Griffith Defence Network strongly supports the call to form a Defence Technology Accelerator in Queensland,” Professor Findlay said.
“Such an initiative would greatly increase the rate of technology adoption, and support the build-up of sovereign resilience, through actively promoting the uptake of world-leading Australian Industry Content into Defence.”
ARM Hub is seeking $12 million to establish a pilot Defence Technology Accelerator Program, in collaboration with its university and investment partners.
“It’s not a silver bullet, but it does address some major inhibitors for Australian SME to participate in the Defence Industry,” Dr Stewart said.
“It will make the Defence Supply environment significantly less hostile to Australian SMEs and start-ups; increase sovereign manufacturing capability and Australian industry content; while also boosting capability overmatch.”
The Accelerator addresses key hurdles for SMEs in working with Defence, including the significant investment in time and resources required to meet Defence compliance; the lack of knowledge of Defence procurement and the Defence ecosystem; and the lack of a stable mechanism to form consortia to respond comprehensively to Defence tenders.
Dr Stewart said the Accelerator would house many SMEs simultaneously and actively support the formation of consortia.
“The Accelerator would act as a focal point for a ‘whole-of-ecosystem’ approach to supporting Australian SMEs, and ultimately the Warfighter,” she said.
“It brings together in one program the marketplace of SMEs, primes, the Australian Defence Forces, along with the investment, skills and the talent required to make transformation happen.”
Dr Stewart said Defence was investing significantly in programs such as the MQ-28A Ghost Bat or ‘Loyal Wingman’, the Anduril XLUUV program and the Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise or GWEO.
“Projects such as these are fast-paced, high-technology programs which could generate enormous industry capability benefits if the SMEs pursuing them follow the right development and growth path,” she said.
She said the Accelerator model would be ideal for next-generation technology that needs to be exploited quickly to provide a battlefield advantage and which might need updating or replacing quite rapidly – like sensors on a ‘drone’, or the software controlling a weapon or combat management system.
“Some of these technologies need to be developed rapidly in a process that tolerates risk but also controls costs.”
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LAND FORCES 2022
See ARM Hub’s presentation on a Defence Technology Accelerator at Land Forces 2022 Hub
Wednesday 5 October 1130 – 1230 hrs
LAND FORCES Hub 2, Rear of Hall 4, Brisbane Conference and Exhibition Centre
Associate Professor Cori Stewart, CEO ARM Hub
M: 0400404803 | E: email@example.com
Mr Tim Kelly B.E. (Aero), Business Development and Lead Engineer
M: 0406 195 269 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org