First US contract win for Silentium Defence

Silentium Defence, a deep tech startup spun-out of the Defence department, has made the first sale of its passive radar system in the United States, as it prepares to grow its workforce five-fold.

The company, which claims to be the only company delivering passive radar at commercial scale, has also established a US entity to “capitalise” on recent momentum in defence and national security.

MAVERICK M8 is a passive radar system small enough to fit inside a backpack that can used to detect and track un-crewed aircraft, as well as for integrated air and missile defence.

Unlike traditional radar, which uses a burst of radio activity to identify objects, passive radar picks up disturbances in existing radio activity. It is preferred for covert operations as it does not emit a signal.

Solider deploys MAVERICK M8 passive radar system. Image: Silentium Defence

The sale of the system to an undisclosed customer is considered a key milestone for a company, which was spun-out of the Defence Science and Technology Group at the end of 2016.

Silentium Defence co-founder and chief executive officer Dr James Palmer described the first US contract as an “exciting moment” for not only the company, but Australia’s defence export industry.

“To see uniquely Australian developed capability in the hands of US customers is proof we can build true sovereign advantage locally, for export and application,” Dr Palmer said in a statement.

Silentium co-founder and chief technology officer Simon Palumbo added that the contract follows positive feedback from prospective customers during recent demonstrations in the US and United Kingdom.

He said that for the company to have “achieved this level of engagement… in just over six years… is proof of solid product-market fit and confidence in Australian capability development”.

“Our team recently demonstrated our MAVERICK passive radar systems to potential end-users at this year’s Exercise Trident Spectre in the US,” he said.

“Off the back of strong interest at DSEI in London, we are now heading to AUSA in Washington to demonstrate the advantage our MAVERICK M8 delivers in tactical surveillance scenarios.”

Since it was founded, Silentium has grown to more than 60 full and part-time employees across Australia, working across its three facilities in Adelaide.

Silentium is now looking to grow its workforce by almost five times, according to global defence publication Breaking Defense.

Mr Palumbo told that there are no plans to move any of the company’s operations offshore “at this stage”.

“Silentium Defence will remain headquartered in Adelaide… and our presence in the US will focus on delivery of effective customer support and engagement as we scale in that market,” he said.

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