NSW Defence technologies win innovation awards at PACIFIC 2017

Media release | 4 October 2017

A robot boat powered by sun, wind and wave energy to stay at sea for months tracking enemy or illegal vessels is among four NSW winners of defence innovation awards at the PACIFIC 2017 International Maritime Expo in Sydney.

Defence NSW Director Commodore Peter Scott, CSC, RANR said other NSW winners include a cutting edge communications system to power and protect Navy teams when boarding vessels, and research into submarine sonar and smart robots to clean ballast tanks.

“Congratulations to the four NSW winners of Maritime Australia Industry Innovation Awards at PACIFIC 2017 at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Sydney,” Commodore Scott said.

“These outstanding companies and individuals - as well as our six other NSW finalists - show our State is working at the leading edge of defence industry technology.

“NSW has world class defence industry and R&D institutions working together to help deliver Defence priorities. This is a key aim of our Defence and Industry Strategy - NSW: Strong, Smart and Connected – to drive innovation, research and commercialisation.”

Thales Australia of Potts Point took out the major ‘Defence Innovation National Award’ for its Stingrae communications system developed with the Navy to help power and protect its boarding parties when boarding vessels.

Ocius Technology of Kensington won a $10,000 ‘Defence SME Innovation Grant’ for its ‘Bluebottle’ Unmanned Surface Vessel that runs on solar, wind and wave energy and can carry 200kg of equipment for lengthy unmanned ocean missions.

Two NSW researchers each collected $10,000 Young Innovator Scholarships for their exciting research work with applications for the submarine industry.

Peter Kabakov of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights has led research to support submarine sonar systems.

Andrew Short, a PhD student from the University of Wollongong, has led research to help robots inspect submarine ballast tanks, which is a difficult and dangerous job.

The NSW Government is Principal Sponsor for PACIFIC 2017 and is promoting 14 exhibitors on the Defence NSW stand at the maritime conference which has attracted over 500 companies from 21 countries and 15,000 visitors.

NSW winners of Innovation Awards at PACIFIC 2017

  • Defence Innovation National Award – Thales Australia of Potts Point for its Stingrae communications system for Navy teams when boarding vessels. The system, developed with the Navy, uses mobile phone, data and network communication technologies to transfer voice, video, images and text between one or more boarding teams and their base ship.
  • Defence SME Innovation Grant – Ocius Technology of Kensington which has developed the ‘Bluebottle’ Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) that runs on solar, wind and wave energy, providing a fully autonomous platform that can remain at sea for months gathering surveillance or environmental data. The Bluebottle can carry 200kg of sensors, surveillance and communications equipment and has anti-collision software to stay out of the way of ships.
  • Young Innovator Scholarship for Defence – Peter Kabakov of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) at Lucas Heights who has led research work, with Thales Australia, the University of Wollongong, ANSTO and the Defence Material Technology Centre, on ‘single crystal piezo-electric ceramics’. These are critical components in new generation sonar systems for submarines and this work means for the first time the crystals can be manufactured in Australia.
  • Young Innovator Scholarship for Defence – Andrew Short, a PhD candidate from the University of Wollongong, who has developed algorithms and software programming tools for industrial robots, including to inspect the inside of submarine ballast tanks which is a difficult and dangerous job.

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Ocius Technology's Bluebottle on Sydney Harbour

Thales stingrae communications system