SA companies secure funding to boost Defence innovation

Five South Australian companies were among 19 businesses across the country to receive Federal Government funding to develop their innovative ideas and technologies to strengthen the nation’s Defence capabilities. 

Local companies RFTEQ, Arkwright Technologies, Daronmont Technologies, Prism Systems and Mincham secured over $10 million in contracts through the Australian Government’s Defence Innovation Hub program.

Announced earlier this month, the funding will enable the companies to fast-track the development of a broad range of technologies for Defence, including next-generation electronic warfare capabilities, a deployable payload delivery system, and a vibration monitoring system for Navy vessels.

South Australia company RFTEQ, which produces world-leading technology for tailored electronic warfare capabilities for Defence, was awarded a $5.31 million contract to develop a unique counter improvised threat solution that could provide better protection for Australian Defence Force soldiers.

The technology, known as Complex Adaptive Threat Jammer Technology (CATJAT), protects soldiers from communication and radio-controlled improvised threats.

According to electronic warfare specialist and co-founder of RFTEQ David Kinnaird, the concept of CATJAT evolved to fill a need in the Australian defence landscape.

“The highest priority for RFTEQ is to develop capability to defend Australia, and CATJAT is a key technology in achieving this goal,” Mr Kinnaird said.

The CATJAT system has the potential to protect soldiers by countering improvised threats. The technology aims to identify signals in complex environments, as they arise, and neutralise the threats they pose. This is achieved through the ability to target specific threat signals through CATJAT’s dynamic threat response selection system.

Mr Kinnaird said the contract would support further development of the CATJAT technology for Defence, while enabling the company to grow its workforce and reach export readiness.

“To support this contract, RFTEQ has employed an additional two engineering staff, with a further three staff to be employed in the next six months,” he said.

Adelaide-based Prism Systems was also successful in receiving a $1.81 million to develop a digital precision approach system for aviation systems that will support the recovery of helicopters to ships at night and in poor visibility.

The technology will be developed at the company’s North Adelaide headquarters, where a team of aeronautical and software engineers, and maritime aviation specialists will develop solutions and provide services to support ship-aircraft integration and operations around the world.

Prism’s CEO and chief test pilot Craig Mathews said the funding has enabled the company to continue development of a unique and cost-effective solution that will enhance safety but also has potential to increase operational capability.

“We know the challenges of operations at sea, and we are dedicated to making it safer, by reducing risk and workload in the aircraft and the ship, but also providing solutions that increase capability and tactical flexibility,” he said.

“We are creating a digital transformation for aviation operations at sea which has traditionally involved manual systems and procedures with associated high workloads plus reliance on radar systems to recover aircraft to ships in poor visibility.

Nobody else is doing what we do in the world today. It is an exciting, and challenging, operating environment to work in and we look forward to getting another new digital capability out on ships in Australia and overseas very soon.

The South Australian Defence Innovation Hub contract recipients are:

  • Arkwright Technologies secured $1.7 million to develop a vibration monitoring system for Navy vessels that could reduce the vessels life-cycle operating and sustainment costs
  • Mincham Aviation was awarded $1.12 million to develop a deployable payload delivery system that could be launched from a variety of platforms to strategic equipment in a desired target location
  • Daronmont Technologies received $965,000 to develop a passive radar technology that could be integrated for maritime vessels and enhance situational awareness
  • RFTEQ secured $5.31 million to develop a unique counter improvised threat solution that could detect, identify, and neutralise complex threat signals to provide an increased force protection capability
  • Prism Systems received $1.81 million to a digital precision approach system for aviation systems, that could utilise ship and aircraft navigation systems at night and in poor visibility to improve platform safety in a cost-effective manner