SA cements position as hub of defence innovation

World-first fight recorders, missile detectors and cyber security tools are among some the game-changing technologies and innovations being developed in South Australia to enhance the Defence Force of the future.

South Australian businesses and universities secured the contracts for nearly one third of work on the Australian Government’s defence industry and innovation programs last year, a new report shows.

The first Defence Industry and Innovation Programs Update Report details progress of the Government’s Defence Innovation Hub, Next Generation Technologies Fund and Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) in advancing Defence’s capability and growing Australian industry. 

A total of 30 Defence Innovation Hub contracts, worth around $53.5 million, were awarded to Australian businesses, with South Australia companies securing 30 per cent of contracts, valued at $16.2 million.

Adelaide-based business Data to Decisions CRC received around $1.1 million to develop a system to guard against the impact of new cyber threats, while South Australia’s Ultra Electronics Avalon Systems secured 1.9 million to develop new ship defence-technologies. 

A further $7.9 million was given to Daronmont Technologies, based in Adelaide, to develop existing software and signal processing to improve performance in detecting fast aerial targets and slower aerial targets.

South Australia’s three universities also received a significant portion of the Government’s Next Generation Technology Fund, which supported more than 100 research activities with industry, university and research partners to address Defence science and technology priorities. 

Flinders University received $100,000 for research on advanced sensors, while the University of Adelaide was awarded around $1.1 million for 12 projects and the University of South Australia $1.5 million across eight different projects, including research in cyber, space capabilities and trusted autonomous systems.

Meanwhile, South Australian start-up Myriota secured a contract under the small Business Innovation Research for Defence challenge to develop a new technology known as the Fight Recorder small device worn by soldiers.

The state’s three universities, Defence SA and the Defence Science and Technology Group are helping drive defence research and innovation through a new collaborative venture, the Defence Innovation Partnership.     

Defence SA Chief Executive Richard Price said the Defence Innovation Partnership, which was established in January 2018, is working to increase South Australia’s involvement in providing future technologies to Defence. 

“South Australian companies need technological advantages to compete – the Defence Innovation Partnership is our catalyst for defence research and development collaborations,” he said.

The Australian Government is committing a total of $1.6 billion across the three programs over the next decade to improve Defence capability, while driving innovation and export potential of Australia’s defence industry.

For more information about the Defence Industry and Innovation investment opportunities, visit the Defence Innovation Portal: