The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has commenced a new project that is intended to enhance the safety, speed and fuel consumption of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) vessels using enhanced space surveillance capabilities.
The new A$1.1m ($0.84m) Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) development is the first of four initiatives to be progressed under DMTC’s High Altitude Sensor Systems (HASS) programme.
It is slated to focus on improving efficiency regarding the use of unmanned aerial platforms in order to deliver enhanced capabilities to the RAN.
Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said: “This project aims to develop miniaturised, high-frequency sensor systems for deployment on CubeSats and other unmanned aerial platforms, advancing passive radar technologies related to the processing of both line-of-sight and reflected GPS signals in real-time.
“The initial application of this technology could enable defence to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles to accurately estimate sea-state conditions, leading to improved safety, speed and fuel consumption for navy vessels.”
Partners currently involved in the DMTC initiative include Seaskip and the University of New South Wales’ Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER).
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Pyne added: “Defence’s ongoing involvement through a senior stakeholder group gives the end customer for this activity an awareness of promising new technologies and an opportunity to play their part in promoting the growth of an emerging industrial base.
“The DMTC model makes every dollar invested by the government go further.”
The HASS programme is slated to help improve the company’s defence capabilities, as well as develop an industrial capacity in sensor and on-board data processing technology for unmanned aerial systems and small-satellite platforms.
It was initially launched in September 2017 using A$2.7m ($2.07m) in seed funding from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).