The Australian Department of Defence has opened the new Underwater Collision Research Facility (UCRF) at the Australian Maritime College in Launceston, Tasmania.

Established under a joint effort between the DoD’s Defence Science and Technology and the University of Tasmania, the UCRF will support the country’s national shipbuilding capability.

The new research facility forms a key part of the University of Tasmania’s Maritime Defence Innovation and Design Precinct that will focus on defence-related research and development projects.

Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “The Underwater Collision Research Facility is an exciting new development, which will provide us with a better understanding of the impact of underwater collisions.

“Researchers will look at ways of improving ship and submarine design which will keep our navy crews safer by improving the safety of our submarines and autonomous underwater vehicles.”

The Defence Science and Technology provided funding to buy equipment for the UCRF under a collaborative research agreement with the University of Tasmania.

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The university provided the building capital works and associated support infrastructure for the facility at its Newnham Campus.

Australia Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said: “The UCRF is an excellent example of the unique facilities developed at the Australian Maritime College.

“The facility provides an important maritime research capability in Tasmania and will work with researchers not only just here in Australia, but internationally as well.”

The federal government is investing A$30m ($20.22m) in the first phase of the Maritime Defence Innovation and Design Precinct.

Earlier this month, Thales committed to a presence at the precinct by entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Australian Maritime College.

Thales intends to establish a sovereign acoustic testing capability for the next generation of sonar technology.