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Fishermans Bend, Future Submarines and Future Frigates Programs, LAND 400 Phase 2 and the Defence CRC in Trusted Autonomous Systems

Future Submarines and Future Frigates Programs

Following the appointment of Naval Group as the successful tenderer for the Future Submarines Program, the Victorian Government has been working on attracting Naval Group’s European Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers to Victoria.  We are also focused on potential suppliers to the successful Future Frigates tenderer, as both these programs represent significant opportunities for supplier partnerships with Victorian SMEs.

Fishermans Bend

Aerial photograph of Fishermans Bend in Port Melbourne

In December, the University of Melbourne announced that its School of Engineering will move to Fishermans Bend in Port Melbourne — this is part of the University’s almost $1 billion plan to create a world-class engineering school.

The engineering school, which will be located adjacent to the Defence Science and Technology Group, highlights the advantages of locating LAND 400 production work at Fishermans Bend. The announcement by Melbourne University is immensely significant and will eventually see more than 1,000 engineering and IT students studying in the area, as well as large redevelopment of the former General Motors Holden site.

Defence Cooperative Research Centre in Trusted Autonomous Systems

Image shows a drone in flight

As previously discussed in Combet’s Corner, the Victorian Government put forward a bid to host the Defence Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) in Trusted Autonomous Systems which will be funded by the Defence Science and Technology Group. The State Government coordinated with defence prime contractors, SMEs and the state universities and research organisations to put forward a compelling offer to host the CRC.  

Although we were unsuccessful in securing the CRC headquarters, which will be based in Queensland, a number of Victorian universities and businesses were successful in securing funding from the CRC to undertake research.

BAE Systems Australia’s Victorian based operations and RMIT were selected as founding partners of the CRC. Victoria has one of the largest R&D clusters in the southern hemisphere and RMIT and BAE Systems’ selection is a real testimony to the strength and depth of their capabilities, as well as recognition of the research work RMIT has carried out in recent years in autonomous systems.

Victorian companies Tectonica, DefendTex, Biarri and BioTech Engineering will be involved in the program, helping to create jobs in Victoria.  Also involved are defence primes Thales and Lockheed Martin, which both have an important presence in Melbourne. It is also great to see that the University of Melbourne and Deakin University will be key players in the CRC.

We will be looking to build on Victoria’s involvement in the Defence CRC Program as further proposals for future CRCs are sought by the Department of Defence in a range of priority areas.

Greg Combet, 12 January 2018