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Sovereign HF Radar expertise is focus for new centre

A new Centre at the University of Adelaide for research into high-frequency (HF) radar technology will play a critical role in the nation’s safety and prosperity.

The University of Adelaide, the Department of Defence’s Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and BAE Systems Australia have announced the establishment of the JORN Open Innovation Network (JOIN) Centre for Advanced Defence Research in HF Technologies (CADR-HFT).

The Centre’s primary purpose is to develop the highly specialised workforce that is needed to underpin the nation’s world-leading capability in HF systems and Over-The-Horizon-Radar (OTHR), Australia’s Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN).

JORN provides wide area surveillance of the country’s northern approaches and plays a vital role in supporting the Australian Defence Force’s air and maritime operations, border protection, disaster relief and search and rescue operations. It is a world-leading OTHR network and uses HF technologies developed in Australia.

The three-way partnership will serve to both further enhance radar performance through research and, most importantly, provide a pipeline of talent for the OTHR innovation ecosystem.

Australia has a globally competitive edge in HF radar technology and the new Centre, located on the University of Adelaide’s North Terrace campus, will build on this by focusing on research in HF systems and ionospheric physics and educate and upskill experts in these areas.

Staff recruited by the University of Adelaide for the CADR-HFT will be globally sourced top talent. These will include two professorial chair positions: a BAE-funded Chair in HF Systems at the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering; and a Defence funded Chair in Space and Ionospheric Physics at the School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences.

“The Defence Science and Technology Group has deep experience in JORN and over-the-horizon-radar technology, however we must grow this workforce to be able to meet Defence’s future needs,” said Dr Sylvie Perreau, Chief of DSTG’s Sensors and Effectors Division.

“It is essential that we grow sovereign skills, encourage innovation and invest in novel technologies, to ensure that Australia maintains the highest level of military capability, and scientific and technological sophistication.”

“By partnering with the University of Adelaide and BAE Systems Australia we will deepen the talent pipeline, ensuring that we can sustain a skilled workforce and promote innovation to support JORN and other Defence projects involving high-frequency technology into the future.

Air Commodore Regina Gorton, CASG’s Director General Air and Space Surveillance and Control, said, “JORN provides critical surveillance for the Integrated Force, enabling Australia’s National Defence objectives. This collaboration is important for nurturing and advancing the HF sensing technologies that will help to ensure JORN remains the world’s leading over-the-horizon radar system into the future.

“Defence appreciates this partnership that will also foster the development of science and technology skills and provide opportunity for emerging talent.”

The Centre will attract post-doctoral fellows who will engage with the broader research community to develop collaborative partnerships to find innovative solutions to HF research problems and continue to grow the future workforce.

JORN is currently being upgraded and maintained by BAE Systems and its network of trusted industry partners. The ten-year upgrade will improve aircraft detection sensitivity and extend the life of JORN beyond 2040.

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