• The Muskito technology will be integrated with unmanned ground vehicles. Image: EPEquip and HDT Global.
    The Muskito technology will be integrated with unmanned ground vehicles. Image: EPEquip and HDT Global.

Downer Defence Systems (DDS) – has been awarded a $3 million contract through the Defence Innovation Hub to partner with several Australian companies to deliver the Muskito capability.

“Muskito is an integrated Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) concept that will use autonomous systems and machine learning to detect threats above the ground and below the surface, and then flag them to an operator via a visual interface,” Downer Defence Systems’ Executive General Manager, Andrew Foster, said.

“It is part of the capability requirements for Army’s Land 154 Phase 4 – the Joint Counter Improvised Explosive Device Capability Project,” he said.

The Defence Innovation Hub contract will see DDS working as the Prime Systems Integrator with Australian industry partners Urban Circus, EPE, and Insitu Pacific to develop a Muskito prototype and then deliver a technology demonstration for Defence.

Downer Defence Systems will implement its Machine Learning capabilities in the detection of surface and subsurface threats, and provide overall project management to integrate the technology into the Muskito Mission System; Urban Circus will develop the system that converts the sensor data into a visual reference for the operator; Insitu Pacific will deliver the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that will integrate with the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) to provide tactical data; and EPE will support the initial conduct of a concept of operations workshop.

"IEDs and other related threats have been the scourge of Australian and allied service personnel in their operations overseas in recent decades, and we are grateful to be given an opportunity to play a role in helping to mitigate that threat,” Foster said.

 “EPE is very pleased to partner with Downer and the Defence Innovation Hub on the Muskito program, which aligns perfectly with our focus on the delivery of Force Protection solutions,” EPE’s Managing Director, Warwick Penrose said. “The Muskito Program will harness EPE’s CIED domain expertise, technology partners and innovative engineering to deliver a sovereign Australian capability that will protect ADF personnel deployed in non-permissive operational environments.”

“During the time we supported the ADF with unmanned aerial ISR services in Iraq and Afghanistan, our team witnessed the destructive and devastating effects of IEDs,”Insitu Pacific’s Managing Director, Andrew Duggan said. “As a company focussed on driving innovation to solve complex problems, we welcome the opportunity to be part of this Australian team to develop a world-class counter improvised threat solution.”

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