Innovation the order of the day

Attendees of Army Innovation Day 2019 observe advanced robotics at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra. Photo: Corporal Julia Whitwell

Innovation the order of the day

The pressure to perform was on Defence industry companies during Shark Tank-style pitches as part of Army Innovation Day 2019 (AID19).

Network assurance was the focus of AID19, an exhibition of Defence industry concepts aimed at solving an Army challenge statement.

In its sixth consecutive year, the event attracted 75 submissions from Australian companies, with 10 being selected to present their cutting-edge technologies to Army at the Australian Defence Force Academy on September 25.

The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, said AID19 was an opportunity for industry to pitch innovations that could shape Army’s approach to meeting the challenges of a changing operating environment.

“Army continues to innovate, to modernise, and get after the future, and it’s a tangible demonstration of an Army in Motion,” Lieutenant General Burr said.

Submissions for AID19 were presented in a Shark Tank-style pitch from the company to a judging panel of Army decision-makers, users, and business coaches, including Shark Tank entrepreneur, Steve Baxter.

Defence will select a number of proposals to enter into an innovation contract to deliver a demonstrator of the technology for user trial and evaluations with Army within 12 months of AID19.

While not all innovation contracts will lead to Army acquiring the technology, AID19 has proved itself as a mechanism for Army to acquire new capabilities.

The Defence Innovation Hub assessment team reviews a pitch from Defence industry partners at Army Innovation Day 2019. Photo: Corporal Julia Whitwell

Previous successful Army Innovation Day pitches include Black Hornet and WASP unmanned aerial vehicles (AID14) and enhanced target systems, such as robotic moving targets and ‘Raider’ ARH vehicle targets (AID15 and AID16).

Several previously successful AID proposals, currently under trial with Army, were also invited to attend AID19 as an example to new industry participants, including Thales F90 SMASH rifle, the Defendtex low profile body armour, Defendtex MAUL lightweight modular shotgun system, and the Sypaq precision payload delivery system from AID17 and AID18.

The Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, said the technology on display was designed to enhance Army’s command, control and communications capability.

“It is exciting to know that some of the new technology on display today could be trialled by soldiers in the field within the next 12 months,” she said.

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