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First Defence Cooperative Research Centre formed

18 December 2017
Media Release
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today announced the formation of the first Defence Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Trusted Autonomous Systems with inaugural participating members BAE Systems Australia, RMIT University, DefendTex and the Department of Defence, represented by Defence Science and Technology Group.

Minister Pyne said the Defence CRC is being set up under the Next Generation Technologies Fund, with $50 million invested over seven years to deliver trustworthy smart-machine technologies for new defence capabilities based on advanced human-machine teaming concepts.

"The Defence CRC establishment is based on a sound formation plan developed by Chair Mr Jim McDowell, in collaboration with a panel of independent experienced experts from industry, academia, Defence and the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory," Minister Pyne said.

"I thank the panel for their expert advice in shaping the Defence CRC which will play a vital role in giving Defence a game-changing capability."

The expert panel included former Australian Chief Scientist Ian Chubb, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, the UK Defence Ministry's Chief Science Adviser, Air Vice Marshall Neil Hart (Retd), and Mr Paul Merrow, former CEO of GD Defence Australia.

"Additional companies and universities will join as participating members and research partners as the Defence CRC grows and takes on more projects," Minister Pyne said.

"Initially, there will be three Defence CRC research projects led by BAE Systems, Thales Australia and Lockheed Martin in the land, maritime and aerospace domains."

Minister Pyne also announced that as the outcome of a competitive process the headquarters of the Defence CRC for Trusted Autonomous Systems will be located in Queensland.

"This announcement is great for the state of Queensland, and clearly proves that our biggest build-up of defence capability in our country's history is truly a national endeavour", Minister Pyne said.

"Ongoing discussions are also taking place with Boeing Australia and Data61 for their future involvement in the Defence CRC for Trusted Autonomous Systems.

"I look forward to the first Defence CRC making a significant impact on capability with advances in autonomous systems."

Chairman of the Defence Cooperative Research Centre, Jim McDowell said this has been a good start for the CRC.

"This has been a good start to rapidly form a Defence CRC with a totally novel formation process and to do it on schedule. Our focus as we move forward will be Industry led projects with real translation opportunities to move technology rapidly from universities into industry and ultimately into leading edge capability for the Australian Defence Force," Mr McDowell said.