$5m national Electronic Warfare centre

Last week, it was announced that a five-year, $5 million initiative to develop and sustain Electronic Warfare (EW) related skills in the defence sector is being established at Flinders University, enhancing South Australia as a Centre of Expertise in EW.

The partnership between Defence and Flinders University will result in the establishment of a chair of EW at the University’s Tonsley campus.

At the same time, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Flinders University, the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST), Joint Capabilities Group and leading industry group DEWC to drive impactful research and deliver education and training to build an EW workforce that is equipped to support the national interest.

EW involves protection and management of the use of the electromagnetic spectrum, including radar, electro-optic and communications systems.

Chief defence scientist, Professor Tanya Monro, says that this initiative is Defence’s strategy of co-investing with universities and industries to grow research capacity and training pathways in identified areas of national priority.

According to the press statement, the chair will provide leadership in the establishment of Flinders University as one of the world-leading providers of education and research in EW and establish and deliver within Flinders University a range of significant joint R&D activities that will explore potential and emerging disruptive technologies related to EW.

Flinders University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Colin Stirling, says it is further evidence of Flinders’ research strength in defence.

Recruitment for the chair will begin immediately, and new undergraduate and post graduate courses in Electromagnetic Systems and Security are being developed that will complement and include topics from Flinders University’s strong programs in cyber security.  Courses will commence from January 2021.

Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds said the new centre will provide the ADF with strategic and tactical advantages, to keep pace with the evolving operating environment.

“The government is committed to providing the ADF with the best possible capability to defend Australia’s national interests,” Reynolds said.

“That is why we are investing an unprecedented $20 billion over the next decade in Electronic Warfare capabilities in the ADF.”

She mentioned that the key to ensuring these capabilities are fit-for-purpose is “a strong workforce, comprised of practitioners and researchers across the ADF, Australian Public Service, academia and industry.”