Defence manufacturer grants tighten industry focus

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Australian manufacturers of anti-drone technology, guided munition components and hypersonic vehicles have shared in $3.4 million in federal defence industry grants announced on Tuesday by Defence Industry minister Pat Conroy.

The co-investment grants from the Defence Global Competitiveness and Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority programs aim to support projects that build their defence export capability and build industrial capabilities that align with Defence’s priorities.

Several of the latest recipients align with the new priorities for Defence outlined in last year’s Defence Strategic Review and innovation reforms, like hypersonics, directed energy, and information warfare.

DroneShield non-kinetic technology can force drones to land or return to its remote contoller. Image: Defence/DroneShield

The grants were awarded several months ago but only announced by the Defence Industry minister as Parliament returned for the first time in 2024 on Tuesday.

“Defence grant programs such as these support our industry to be innovative and competitive in the production of world-class defence technologies and platforms,” Mr Conroy said in a statement.

Adelaide based advanced manufacturer Aerobond received the largest grant of $849,876 in October from the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority program.

It will go towards a new machining facilities to produce composite structures and electronics used in guided munitions, hypersonics and integrated defence systems.

Sydney AI and robotics startup Advanced Navigation also received its grant of $278,756 from the same program in October. Advanced Navigation, which plans to become Australia’s first mass producer of photonic chips, will use the grant to acquire a wire bonder and associated equipment for the move into chips.

The chips are expected to be used in use in inertial navigation and Doppler Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems.

Sydney firm DroneShield landed a $104,700 grant from the export focused Global Competitiveness program in November to help install testing facilities for the RF components that are used in anti-drone and electronic warfare systems.

Grants from the programs were last announced in September and November last year

Other grants announced by the minister on Tuesday are:

  • Hendon Semiconductors received $689,251 to acquire equipment for printed circuit board used in ruggedised Defence electronics
  • U-Neek Bending Co received $631,833 to acquire a Trumpf TruLaser Weld 5000 system for welding complex metal parts used in aerospace, land combat vehicles and munitions
  • Advanced Power Drives received $253,579 to acquire automated machinery and equipment for circuit board assembly and inspection, for use in uncrewed air systems and other platforms
  • Protonautics received $245,267 to acquire a computerised numerical control multi-tasking turning centre, equipment and test capabilities to manufacture components in precision guided munitions and hypersonic vehicles
  • Jehbco Manufacturing received $142,316 to install post-curing ovens and chillers for the production of silicone gaskets and O-rings used in guided weapons and maritime platforms
  • Armor Australia received $122,970 to acquire and integrate a fabric cutting system for application to ballistic protection materials for use in moulded body armour
  • JTM Gaskets received $83,559 to acquire a high-speed cutting machine for precision use with thicker and harder materials used in gaskets for maritime and communications applications

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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