Gov’t allocates over $3.4M to advance Australian defence manufacturing

The Sky Ranger R70 unmanned aerial system operating at RAAF Base Darwin, NT, in 2022. Image credit:

The Australian government is injecting $3.4 million into innovative local businesses to boost cutting-edge defence capabilities, create skilled jobs, and support local manufacturing.

This financial boost comes as part of the latest round of initiatives under the Defence Global Competitiveness and Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority programs, the government said in a media release.

These programs are designed to provide a 50 per cent matching grant to 10 selected businesses, contributing to the creation of over 50 jobs and catalysing export activities.

Among the grant recipients is a New South Wales-based company specialising in state-of-the-art counter-drone technology, a South Australian producer focusing on composite structures for guided munitions and hypersonic vehicles, and a Queensland-based business manufacturing intricate components for precision guided munitions and hypersonic vehicles.

This strategic support builds upon the foundation laid by more than $100 million already allocated to over 230 Australian businesses through these grant programs.

The funds are geared towards facilitating the delivery of capabilities prioritised in the government’s response to the Defence Strategic Review.

According to the Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy, the Australian Government is dedicated to ensuring that Australian Defence Force personnel have the necessary capabilities to safeguard Australians and protect national interests.

He stated, “One the best ways we can do this is through Defence grant programs, which help businesses grow, creating highly skilled and well-paid jobs.”

Minister Conroy also emphasised that these Defence grant programs are instrumental in supporting the industry to cultivate innovation and competitiveness, enabling the production of world-class defence technologies and platforms.

Australian businesses that have been selected as recipients of the latest round of Defence Global Competitiveness and Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority programs include Aerobond (SA), which will receive $849,876 to acquire advanced manufacturing capabilities for the production of composite structures and electronics; Hendon Semiconductors (SA), granted $689,251 for equipment to support printed circuit board prototyping and ruggedized electronics; U-Neek Bending Co (VIC), allocated $631,833 for a Trumpf TruLaser Weld 5000 system to weld complex metal parts.

Advanced Navigation (NSW) secured $278,756 for a wire bonder and equipment for photonic chip assembly; Advanced Power Drives (NSW) received $253,579 for equipment for circuit board assembly; Protonautics (QLD), obtained $245,267 for a computerised numerical control multi-tasking turning centre; Jehbco Manufacturing (NSW), granted $142,316 for post-curing ovens and chillers; Armor Australia (NSW), received $122,970 for a fabric cutting system; Droneshield (NSW), secured $104,700 for an anechoic test chamber; and JTM Gaskets (SA), obtaining $83,559 for a high-speed cutting machine.