Katherine Ziesing | Canberra
Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) will establish an $80 million Technology and Product Development Fund (over five years) as part of the AIC program for Land 400 Phase 2.
There is also scope for a further $120 million in funding should the company be successful in Phase 3 of Land 400.
Gary Stewart, RDA’s new managing director said the fund provides the missing link between fundamental research and product development that will underpin an enduring sovereign military vehicle capability in Australia.
Having research efforts that lead to outcomes, that make a difference, is so important to the STEM community
“The fund will invest in the development of a range of new technologies and products for the Australian and global markets, ensure the sustainability of the industry in Australia, while also generating advanced manufacturing jobs and enriching the Australian economy.”
With an initial investment period of five years, Rheinmetall will use the fund for fundamental research in future technologies, and ongoing product development.
In relation to fundamental research, Rheinmetall is establishing programs with the CSIRO and selected academic institutions to conduct research that can be applied to underpin future capabilities. The initial areas of research include:
- Lightweight high performance materials for automotive and military applications, in partnership with the CSIRO and Swinburne University of Technology;
- Advanced and hybrid manufacturing, in partnership with CSIRO and Swinburne University of Technology;
- Autonomous systems, in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology; and
- Advanced sensing, in partnership with the University of South Australia.
“The Technology Fund and partnerships will create a clear pathway for STEM graduates to enter an industry focused on military vehicles, turret systems and automotive technologies,” Stewart said. “It will also allow a clear commercialisation pathway for local companies to both the Rheinmetall Defence and Rheinmetall Automotive global supply chains.”
He added the second objective of the Rheinmetall Technology and Product Development Fund will be to contribute directly to the ongoing product development for Australian based vehicle and turret systems. This will allow Australian innovation, systems and ideas to be developed, prototyped and tested in the MILVEHCOE.
Speaking at the launch of the cooperative research project, Dr Catherine Foley, CSIRO’s Deputy Director and Science Director of its Manufacturing division said that the face of manufacturing is changing to become more high tech at every level.
“We’re looking at moving from ore to more,” she said when speaking about titanium 3D printing capabilities the organisation has been working on for some time. “We want to be able to print 3D in multiple materials that have sensors embedded to account for stress, fatigue and corrosion.
“Having research efforts that lead to outcomes, that make a difference, is so important to the STEM community,” she said.
“The priority is to transfer these new technologies into new products,” Stewart said. “In turn this will help Australian scientists and engineers develop and deliver new IP for years to come. In turn, this will deliver the best capabilities for Australia to export.”