Defence grants awarded ahead of new guidelines

Brandon How

The Defence department has announced a final cohort of industry grants ahead of applications opening under new guidelines for the streamlined Defence Industry Development Grant program.

The $2.9 million in Defence Industry grants, shared by nine Australian manufacturers ranging from rockets and shipbuilders to circuit boards, were unveiled on Monday.

The grants are the last to be awarded under the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority and Defence Global Competitiveness Grant programs, which have been unified under the Defence Industry Development Grant program. The new program allocates grants under four streams, with the Sovereign Industrial Priorities stream having the same maximum grant value as its predecessor.

The latest grants announcement follows the award of $3.5 million in April that was previously understood to be the final set of grants awarded under the former Defence Industry grants regime.

Defence Industry minister Pat Conroy. Image: Defence/ABIS Lucinda Allanson

The grants announced on Monday were awarded under the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority and Defence Global Competitiveness Grant programs. The largest grant worth $676,737 was awarded to Victoria-based R&I Instrument & Gear, a manufacturer of precision gears for the aerospace, Defence, medical, and scientific sectors.

R&I will use the funding to procure and commission a machining centre suited for the production of gears used in Defence platforms like uncrewed aerial systems and land combat vehicles.

Gilmour Space Technologies, the Queensland-based orbital rocket manufacturer, was awarded $148,862 to obtain a ‘zone four’ secure container “to support the security requirements associated with international client space projects”.

Gilmour had received $715,000 for a production facility for high-test peroxide as a propellant for use in hybrid rocket motors in the grants round announced in April.

Also in Queensland, electronics manufacturer Masters and Young have received $150,000 for the acquisition of a 3D automated optical inspection system for use with printed circuit boards used in defence aviation, sensing and communications systems.

South Australia’s Aerobond has received $354,053 to establish a Defence Radome Transmissivity Centre. The facility will test radomes – physical structures designed to protect antennas – destined for aircraft or maritime platforms “for purposes such as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, targeting, communications or weather monitoring”, according to Defence.

The new grant guidelines, which are largely the same as its predecessor programs, are accessible online with firms able to apply from Tuesday. They will award grants out of $153.6 million a pool out to 2027-28.

The first batch of grants through the Skilling and Export streams will close on July 31, whereas the Security and Sovereign Industrial Priorities stream will close on August 31.

The four new streams replace the Defence’s Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority, Skilling Australia’s Defence Industry, Defence Global Competitiveness, and Capability Improvement grants programs.

Defence Industry minister Pat Conroy said “the new program places stronger emphasis on our need to focus financial support on industry priorities which have flowed from the Defence Strategic Review, and through the Defence Industry Development Strategy, which was released in February, and with clear alignment to the National Defence Strategy which was released in April”.

The full list of final grants awarded under the previous regime are below:

Grant recipient Grant program Grant value
R&I Instrument & Gear Co (VIC) Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority $676,737
Kerr Engineering (WA) Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority $575,350
Rud Chains (QLD) Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority $491,787
Aerobond (SA) Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority $354,053
NDE Solutions (SA) Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority $252,221
Armor Australia (NSW) Defence Global Competitiveness Grant $150,000
Masters & Young (QLD) Defence Global Competitiveness Grant $150,000
Gilmour Space Technologies (QLD) Defence Global Competitiveness Grant $148,862
Mack Valves (VIC) Defence Global Competitiveness Grant $136,753


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