Sinodinos launches into Hypersonix chair

Brandon How

Australia’s former ambassador to the United States, Arthur Sinodinos, has been named the new chair of Queensland-based Hypersonix Launch Systems.

Mr Sinodinos replaced co-founder David Waterhouse as chair of the aerospace startup on March 18, with Mr Waterhouse moving to the role of deputy chair.

Mr Waterhouse co-founded Hypersonix with chief technology officer Michael Smart in 2019 to develop scramjet propulsion technology and served as chief executive until the end of 2023.

The company is currently preparing for the first test flight of its scramjet engine, known as DART AE, as a part of a contract with the United States’ Defence Innovation Unit (DIU).

Mr Sinodinos comes to Hypersonix a year after wrapping up a three-year term as Australia’s US ambassador. During this period, he helped finalise the AUKUS security pact.

Hypersonic and counter-hypersonic missile technologies are a priority under AUKUS Pillar II, which aims to promote collaboration on advanced capability development.

Incoming Hypersonix chair Arthur Sinodinos.

Before becoming ambassador to the US, Mr Sinodinos served as a senator for New South Wales between October 2011 and November 2019, which included a stint as industry, innovation, and science minister in 2017.

He was also chief of staff and senior adviser to former prime minister John Howard between 1995 and 2006.

Mr Sinodinos has spent the past year as partner and chair of the Australian practice of US-based investment and strategic advisory firm The Asia Group

Recently appointed Hypersonix chief executive Matt Hill said Mr Sinodinos’ “time as ambassador to the US will be invaluable to inform and guide [the company’s] global growth strategy”.

“We have big plans, commencing with the upcoming first flight of our DART hypersonic flyer with US DIU,” Mr Hill said on Thursday.

Hypersonix’s work with the DIU is one of multiple ongoing hypersonic weapons programs run by the US government.

The Australian Royal Airforce is also undertaking joint development on hypersonic cruise missile prototypes through the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment has been ongoing since November 2020.

Mr Sinodinos said he feels privileged to take on the role of Hypersonix chair as it moves to its next stage of growth, describing the company as a “great Australian success story”.

“When I first learned about Hypersonix in 2022, I was amazed by the access-to-space technology and ‘green-fuelled’ launch vehicles that they were developing,” Mr Sinodinos said.

“There is a critical need for hypersonic technology in defence, and an equally significant potential for commercial applications.

“Hypersonix has the right leadership team in place and I look forward to guiding and supporting them to maximise growth potential and bring the product line to market.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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