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Defence awards $3.47M in global competitiveness grants to eight Australian SMEs

Eight Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) delivering priority capabilities for Defence have collectively been awarded $3.47 million in Defence Global Competitiveness and Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority grants.

The two grant programs are designed to help Australian businesses boost manufacturing, harness their expertise and increase jobs. In total, 239 grants worth more than $104 million have been awarded to Australian businesses through both programs.

“Small to medium-sized businesses play an important role in developing and sustaining the capabilities the Australian Defence Force needs to protect us and our national interests,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy.

Recent Awards have seen companies develop a range of components for use by Defence. These include hybrid rocket motors, explosive ordnance, self-propelled artillery vehicles, radar and surveillance systems, communication systems, anti-drone technologies, robotics and submarines.

The Defence Industry Development Grant program is expected to be launched in June 2024 and will supersede some of the existing grant programs. This new program, which is aligned with the Defence Industry Development Strategy (DIDS), will have dedicated streams for supporting eligible Australian businesses to develop their capabilities in relation to sovereign industrial priorities, exports, skilling and security. More information can be found here.

The latest recipients are:

  • QPE Advanced Manufacturing (SA) will receive $1 million to acquire and commission a five-axis computerised numerical control (CNC) mill, CNC cylindrical grinder and optical scanning system.  These systems will assist the manufacturing and maintenance of components used in submarine and aerospace domains.
  • Hexion Australia (WA) will receive $1 million to establish a hexamine production facility for use in explosives ordnance and munitions manufacturing.
  • Gilmour Space Technologies (Qld) will receive $715,000 to design, build and commission a facility for production of high-test peroxide as a propellant for use in hybrid rocket motors in space vehicles.
  • Elexon Electronics (Qld) will receive $338,000 to acquire and commission a solder paste inspection system and a computed tomography x-ray machine for automated inspection of printed circuit boards for defence radar and communications systems.
  • Betaserv (Tas) will receive $146,000 to acquire and commission a suite of scanning capabilities to allow phased array ultrasonic testing of armour-plating in self-propelled howitzer artillery vehicles.
  • Sentient Vision Systems (Vic) will receive $108,000 to acquire and integrate enhanced data-processing capabilities which support the development of artificial intelligence models for image-based surveillance and reconnaissance solutions.
  • Reach Robotics (NSW) will receive $104,000 to acquire and commission a hydrostatic pressure chamber to conduct product validation of underwater robotic arms to a depth of 6000m as well as a coordinate measuring machine, lathe and vacuum pump for validation of precision components.
  • Droneshield (NSW) will receive almost $59,000 to acquire two spectrum analysers for use in developing Radio Frequency (RF) detection sensors used in anti-drone and electronic warfare systems.
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