The government has invested $7.35 million in a veteran-owned NSW company’s project to support the development of its next-generation, high-performance watercraft.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price welcomed the investment in The Whiskey Project, one of the biggest from the Government’s Defence Innovation Hub.
“This sort of investment in Australian defence industry is critical to growing a sustainable and globally competitive sovereign defence industry,” Minister Price said.
Existing forms of tactical watercraft, like Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs), are used by the RAN to provide high-speed interception and boarding capability.
The small maritime design and manufacturing firm’s new watercraft will incorporate composite material technology and a novel ‘sea blade’ hull that provides enhanced stability, and reduced shock and vibration, that could be adapted to meet multiple Defence needs.
“This investment will support The Whiskey Project’s development of local naval design and manufacturing know-how that translates to an advantage for the Australian Defence Force and strengthens our performance in maritime operations,” Minister Price said.
“Investments like this are an example of the Government’s commitment to nurturing Australian defence innovation, while supporting veteran-owned businesses who bring the expertise and experience to solve Defence’s tactical and strategic challenges.”
Darren Schuback, managing director and co-founder of The Whiskey Project Group, thanked the government for its support.
“We are deeply grateful to the Minister for Defence Industry and her office, for their unwavering commitment to The Whiskey Project’s vision to create next generation tactical watercraft that will provide optimal performance and protection for those who risk their lives in the strategic maritime environment," Schuback said.
“Significantly our Whiskey watercraft are designed in Australia and built in Australia by Australian regional manufacturers.
"They demonstrate effect-centric design thinking of true innovation, and will provide Australia and our Defence personnel with a capability advantage, a human performance advantage and a sovereign advantage.
“The Whiskey Project Group are very proud to be playing a role in securing the future of Australia’s small watercraft sovereign industrial capability, and we are delighted to be partnering with Defence to deliver this new capability for Australia.”
“Whiskey range of watercraft are fit-for-purpose multi-mission vessels that integrate leading Defence technologies for improved human performance, operational effectiveness, and asset versatility," The Whiskey Project Group's COO and co-founder Ryan Carmichael added.
"This funding from the Commonwealth’s Defence Innovation Hub will not only secure Australia’s position at the forefront of tactical watercraft innovation but will ensure a transmission of knowledge across critical sovereign capability.
"It will enhance technologies such as advanced manufacturing, C4ISR and maritime autonomous systems."