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17 Feb 21. UK and Australia collaborate to accelerate advanced materials integration. Funding for innovative proposals covering integration of composites, adhesives for structural joining, joining high temperature structures and improving armour systems
Defence research and development ties between the UK and Australia are already strong, but have been strengthened further under a bilateral international program to accelerate the integration of advanced materials into military platforms.
Nine teams of partners across both nations have received Phase 2 funding worth a total of £1.48m (A$2.82m) from the UK and Australian governments to develop innovative proposals covering integration of composites, adhesives for structural joining, joining high temperature structures and improving armour systems.
In the UK successful consortia are:
- Foresight Innovations Limited, Hephaestus Consulting, Nottingham Trent University and Matrix Composites
- TWI Limited
- University of Surrey and QinetiQ
- Zentraxa Limited and QinetiQ Australia
Successful Australian teams are:
- Western Sydney University, Imperial College London, Metrologi Pty Ltd, UNSW and AirBus Australia Pacific
- Qinetiq Australia Pty Ltd and RMIT
- University of New South Wales, Imperial College London, Advanced Composite Structures Australia Pty Ltd
- University of Adelaide, Research Institute of Saint-Louis (ISL – France) and Materials Science Institute
- RMIT University and BAE Systems Pty Ltd
This program is jointly funded by the Australian Next Generation Technologies Fund run by DST Group; and the Ministry of Defence Materials for Strategic Advantage programme in the UK. Both nations used a common assessment framework managed by the UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA). Assessment and Moderation of the competition was carried out collaboratively by Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) in the UK and DST Group in Australia.
The UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP, said, “The UK and Australia have an enduring defence relationship. As we take on a range of new challenges, I am delighted we will be working together to ensure our personnel are armed with the most advanced technologies. These joint challenge projects represent both countries’ innovative visions for the future, whilst supporting our academic and industry partners.”
Australian Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, said the joint research proposals demonstrated the close practical cooperation between defence industry and universities across Australia and the UK.
“These joint challenge projects have not only strengthened our bilateral defence relationship but provide support to each country’s respective defence industries to overcome capability challenges we face.
“Academic and industry partners are vitally important to both defence forces. Through the Next Generation Technologies Fund the Australian Government is committed to providing the best capability possible to the men and women who serve our nation.”
The Joint Effort gives both nations access to international research using a total pooled fund of around £2.52m (cA$4.79m) from the two phases of the competition so far. Across the themes, individual proposals were also chosen to support mutual reliance with one nation taking the lead. The new projects start in the financial year 2020/21 and run for up to two years. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
17 Feb 21. New program launched to bolster export opportunities for Australian SMEs. A new program has been set up to help SMEs in the defence, advanced manufacturing and cyber security sectors expand their global footprint.
The Defence Teaming Centre has launched Team.eX, a business program set up to build the export capabilities of Australian firms across the defence, advanced manufacturing and cyber security space.
The eight-month executive education program provides participants with access to face-to-face workshops, online modules, networking opportunities, legal templates, facilitated introductions, market research and one-on-one export coaching.
Defence Teaming Centre CEO Audra McCarthy said Team.eX would help businesses take on larger projects, diversify their revenue streams and develop export opportunities.
“For Australian SMEs wanting to access global markets and the supply chains of large, multi-national organisations, it isn’t as simple as picking up the phone and talking to the right person,” she said.
“To be considered, even the amount of paperwork required can be overwhelming. It requires a huge amount of preparation and commitment from a business.
“The teaming concept will bring together like-minded SMEs with complementary capabilities to offer an improved, integrated solution to global customers and overcome many perceived risks such as size.”
McCarthy added: “Combined, the knowledge, skills and relationships provided by the program will build capability and scale, making it easier for SMEs to compete domestically and globally for work across a range of sectors.”
Tony Martin, the global access program manager at BAE Systems Australia, said Team.eX expands on the company’s existing initiatives.
“There are significant opportunities for Australian industry in the BAE Systems’ global supply chain,” he said.
“We strongly believe Team.eX will support businesses to mature and compete domestically and globally for work.
“We find within the Australian supply community, there are many SMEs with a niche – unique capabilities which they apply very well in their own selected field. But bringing together companies with complementary capabilities, as Team.eX aims to do, can often achieve a far greater effect.”
Simon Kennedy, managing director of specialist steel fabricator Smart Fabrication, and a foundation participant of the Team.eX program, said the initiative would help the firm reach its full potential.
“Defence is a sector we’ve been working in for over a decade now, but one thing we haven’t looked at seriously enough is the opportunity to compete in global supply chains,” he said.
“We know we can do it; we’ve got what it takes, but Team.eX will help us get there much faster. It’s exciting – we know it’ll give us the knowledge, connections and implementation support we need to take that next step and forge even stronger relationships with global defence primes.”
Participants can access federal and state government grants to offset their organisation’s cost to take part in the Team.eX program.
Foundation partners of Team.eX include Adelaide Business School (the University of Adelaide), Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC), Department for Trade and Investment, De Stefano & Co, Jones Harley Toole and Knowledge Perspectives.
The Team.eX program has received grant funding from the Australian government’s SME Export Hubs Initiative. (Source: Defence Connect)
15 Feb 21. Turkey-Gulf détente may boost Turkish exports. If Turkey’s hostile relationship with some Gulf countries is beginning to thaw, the new dynamics could bring a boost in defense and aerospace exports, particularly to Saudi and Emirati markets, Turkish officials and industry sources told Defense News.
Although a new understanding between the countries — which is being negotiated through both official and unofficial channels — looks premature, it could accelerate in the coming months, a Turkish diplomat said.
“We need to see more [confidence-building steps] from our counterparts,” he explained.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf ally the United Arab Emirates recently ended their rift with one of Turkey’s staunchest allies, Qatar. Relations had also soured between the two Middle Eastern powerhouses and Turkey.
“The end of the Gulf rift will create a more positive set of relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
Many of these countries have been on opposing sides in recent years.
Turkey and Qatar have been the top political supporters of the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Egyptian religiopolitical organization Muslim Brotherhood; Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt view these Islamist groups as terrorist entities. The Gulf heavyweights and the Turkey-Qatar pact have also supported rival groups in the Libyan civil war. And while Turkey has advocated for the isolation of Israel, rival Gulf states and Egypt have taken steps to normalize their relationship with the Jewish state.
“Any potential normalization [between Turkey and its Gulf rivals] is not yet mature enough to justify a high-profile Turkish presence at IDEX,” said a Turkish presidential aide who works on a defense industry portfolio. “We must be patient to see more.”
Eleven Turkish defense companies are expected to exhibit their products at the International Defence Exhibition & Conference, which will take place Feb. 21-25 in Abu Dhabi. Ten of the Turkish exhibitors are small companies. Otokar, a top armored vehicles producer, is among them.
“The potential détente has not yet reached any official level … it has no governmental support yet,” the Turkish diplomat said. “However that does not mean there won’t be governmental support. We favor good relations within the Islamic world.”
But with normalized relations, Turkey would see a “big boost” in its exports to those countries, the presidential aide noted.
“They are big markets, And Turkish manufacturers have combat-proven solutions to meet their requirements,” the aide said. “Turkish companies did well even during the COVID-19 crisis.”
According to the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, defense and aerospace exports fell by about 17 percent to $2.279bn in 2020, from $2.74bn in 2019. The United States was the top market for Turkish exporters, with $748m in business.
Despite political tension, the UAE became Turkey’s third-largest export market, with $200m in sales.
“The UAE has been procuring from those Turkish companies known to have been hostile to the Turkish government,” an industry source said. “With normalization, those ‘government-friendly’ Turkish manufacturers too may come into the business cycle. And they are big ones.”
The presidential aide estimated an added export volume of nearly $1bn to a few Gulf and Arab countries if Turkey improves political relations with these presently rival states. He said potential equipment in this potential new export spree would include corvettes, frigates, helicopters, armored vehicles and drones.
During the past few years, tensions rose so sharply between Turkey and the bloc of Gulf countries and Egypt that these Arab nations launched official and unofficial boycotts on Turkey’s civilian exports, hurting scores of Turkish producers.
One reason Turkey wants to reduce regional tension is the isolation it has recently experienced, through sanctions issued by Russia, the United States and the European Union. In addition, the U.S. suspended Turkey’s partnership in the American-led, multinational Joint Strike Fighter program that builds the F-35 Lightning II.
As for where Qatar stands, Turkish academic Barıs Adibelli said it is likely the country will perform the role of broker between Turkey and the Gulf bloc. (Source: Google/ Defense News)
15 Feb 21. Australian Cyber security innovation grants to help industry growth. The Defence Science Institute reports that Commonwealth government has established a new $25.6m fund to deliver innovative projects to improve the quality or availability of cyber security professionals in Australia.
The Cyber Security Skills Partnerships Innovation Fund provides industry and academia with funding to deliver innovative projects to keep Australians secure online and to underpin government and industry capability and capacity.
Grants available from $25,0000 up to $3m to fund 50% of eligible project expenditure.
Closing date: 1700 AEDT, 11 Match 2021. To learn more go to the DSI web site: https://defencescienceinstitute.com/news/initiatives/funding-opportunity-cyber-security-skills-partnership-innovation-fund (Source: http://rumourcontrol.com.au/)
15 Feb 21. DEADLINE ALERT: Call for problem statements for Australian 2021-22 DIN Pilot Projects. The Defence Innovation Network (DIN) in Sydney has repeated its invitation to industry and Defence to help identify important problems. DIN is seeking problem statements with high potential to satisfy defence capability needs. Deadline for submission of problem statements is Friday, 26 February.
Authors of selected problems will be invited to pitch their ideas at the virtual DIN Sandpit Workshop in March 2021 (date to be confirmed) attended by academics, Defence and industry representatives.
Some of the problems will form a base for a call for project proposals to our member universities to address these problem statements directly. Successful proposals will be funded up to $200,000 by the DIN Pilot Project grants.
Problem statements can be submitted online until 5:00 PM on Friday, 26 February 2021. (Source: http://rumourcontrol.com.au/)