Enhancing space surveillance capabilities for the ADF


A new project focused on improving Navy vessels’ safety, speed, and fuel consumption, through the better use of unmanned aerial platforms has commenced.

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, said the new $1.1 million Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) project aims to enhance Australian defence capability and build industrial capacity in sensor and on-board data processing technology for unmanned aerial systems and small-satellite platforms.

“This project aims to develop miniaturised, high frequency sensor systems for deployment on cubesats and other unmanned aerial platforms, advancing passive radar technologies related to the processing of both line-of-sight and reflected GPS signals in real time,” Minister Pyne said.

“The initial application of this technology could enable Defence to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles to accurately estimate sea-state conditions, leading to improved safety, speed and fuel consumption for Navy vessels.”

The project is the first of four to be progressed under DMTC’s High Altitude Sensor Systems program, launched by the Minister for Defence Industry last September, and involves new DMTC partners Seaskip Pty Ltd and UNSW Sydney’s Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER).

Minister Pyne said DMTC’s model relies on the active involvement of every partner, encompassing industry companies with an appetite for research and development, brilliant researchers and a clear signal that the collaboration will address a Defence need.

“Defence’s ongoing involvement through a senior stakeholder group gives the end customer for this activity an awareness of promising new technologies and an opportunity to play their part in promoting the growth of an emerging industrial base,” Minister Pyne said.

“The DMTC model makes every dollar invested by the Government go further.”

Under DMTC’s proven co-investment model, funding provided by Government agencies (in this case, CSIRO) is leveraged by contributions of cash and resources from industry and research partners.

DMTC is a key partner of the Defence Innovation Hub. Launched in 2016, the Hub will invest around $640 million over the decade in maturing and further developing technologies that have moved from the early science stages into the engineering and development stages.