Defence innovations recognised at the Land Forces 2018

Land Forces 2018 Innovation Award winners. Source: Land Forces 2018

Seven Australian organisations and individuals have been rewarded for innovation in the defence industry field at the 2018 Land Forces exposition in Adelaide.

Developed by the not-for-profit Land Forces organiser Industry Defence and Security Australia Limited (IDSAL), this is the third time the Innovation Awards have been awarded at the event.

The awards are open to Australian companies or the Australian subsidiaries of overseas parent companies. The innovation can involve a new product or service or a new approach to business, with entries judged on their understanding of user needs.

All award winners received a trophy, while the winners of the SME Innovation Grant and the Young Innovator Award received cheques for $15,000 each. The awards were presented by federal defence minister Christopher Pyne.

Counter-drone company, DroneShield, took out both the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Innovation Grant and the Young Innovator Award for its DroneGun Tactical – a fully integrated, rifle-style, safe countermeasure made famous at the recent Winter Olympic Games.

In addition to the Winter Olympic Games, the DroneGun Tactical was used by Queensland Police at the recent Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and has been used by military and law enforcement agencies worldwide.

DroneShield’s CEO Oleg Vornik said the product design factors in the strict requirements required for military use, including robustness, temperature extremes and g-force resistance.

“The engineering team has taken all of this into account and what we’ve got as a result is a functional product that looks and feels great for the user,” Vornik said.

DroneShield has been a tenant of the Sydney Startup Hub at Wynyard since it opened and Vornik said there are a number of natural benefits of being headquartered in NSW.

“There’s a significant labour pool, plus there’s something to be said about working in an environment where everyone is enthusiastic; success feeds success,” Vornik said.

Boeing Defence Australia received both the National Innovation Award and the Innovation Award for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance for its Currawong Battlespace Communications System, which automates deployment and management for the Australian Defence Force, transferring secure data, voice and video between Australian headquarters and deployed forces globally.

The Innovation Award for Combat Equipment and Mobility went to DMTC and Planet Innovation for Nplex, high sensitivity diagnostic device that can quickly identify causative infectious disease agents at the point of care, reducing the time of diagnosis from hours or days to just 10-15 minutes and allowing appropriate response and treatment action to be taken immediately.

“The Land Forces 2018 Innovation Awards recognise the growing pool of research and innovation evident in the Australian defence industry, and the commitment to take concepts all the way from brilliant idea to tangible products and services,” said Land Forces 2018 CEO Ian Honnery.

“This year’s record 31 entries reflect recent greater focus on Australian innovation from industry, defence and government.”