AUKUS Pact: Hypersonics Technology Development Extension Creates Opportunities for QDSA Members
AUKUS Pact Hypersonics – In September 2021, Australia, the UK and the US announced a three-way strategic alliance which means that the countries will now work together in the Indo-Pacific region and build a class of nuclear-propelled submarines.
We previously published an article highlighting the benefits the AUKUS trilateral alliance offers for Australia’s Defence capability.
Fast forward to early April 2022. Nine months into the deal, US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison jointly announced a significant update and expansion of the agreement – namely, the development of hypersonic technology in Australia. The official statement reads that the three leaders agreed to:
“Commence new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen cooperation on defence innovation”.
This means that Britain, US and Australia have all agreed to cooperate on developing several technologies, including electronic warfare and hypersonics.
With former Defence Minister Peter Dutton previously announcing a $3.5 billion injection to Australia’s missile program and Scott Morrison’s $1 billion federal plan to upgrade Australian missile manufacturing, sovereign capability growth looks to increase significantly.
The recent establishment and opening of the DSTG Eagle Farm Hypersonics Research Precinct confirm this.
QDSA Member Universities to Benefit from AUKUS Pact Hypersonics Funding Opportunities
University of Southern Queensland
In an exciting development, QDSA Member University, University of Southern Queensland, was recently announced as a successful recipient of the Federal Government’s $362 million Trailblazer Universities program.
Already known for its ground-breaking research in hypersonics and for being home to Australia’s only long-duration hypersonic wind tunnel, USQ is leading the way with its defence and science-focused initiatives. Along with the $50 million funding secured in the Trailblazer initiative, USQ was also awarded a federally funded $2.95 million Cooperative Research Centres Projects grant in March 2022 to support its research into developing a reusable hypersonic UAV (Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle).
University of Queensland
The University of Queensland has worked alongside DSTG for almost 20 years in developing hypersonics, novel materials and quantum technologies.
The university’s newly established Australian Program Office for Advanced Hypersonics (APOAH) aims to assist Defence by accelerating research into hypersonics technologies and rapid translation into capability.
Like USQ, the University of Queensland is highly focused on growing sovereign capability and stands to benefit from the opportunities that the AUKUS Pact offers.
QDSA Connecting Researchers to Defence
With deals like the AUKUS hypersonic extension becoming a reality, significant opportunities exist for our strategic partners to expand and advance their technologies.
The Queensland Defence Science Alliance works to create connections between researchers, industry and Defence. Programs like our HDR Capability Grants and Collaborative Research Grants support researchers so that they may benefit from new opportunities.
On the back of the AUKUS hypersonics announcement, QDSA is pleased to see that our efforts bolster Defence’s priority focus areas.
QDSA HDR Capability Grants have been instrumental in supporting researchers, with 2021 recipient Lachlan Noller, from USQ receiving funding for his project to increase the capability and advancement of TUSQ Hypersonic Wind Tunnel.
Lachlan confirmed the positive impact of the QDSA funding, offering the following comment upon receiving the grant:
“The QDSA grant has opened additional avenues for the USQ Hypersonics Group to directly collaborate with DSTG Brisbane. Through this project, the TUSQ facility will be better equipped to fulfil the testing requirements of large-scale models, which are of interest to DSTG’s current research goals, also opening the potential for a wide variety of future collaborative projects between the groups,” Lachlan said.
QDSA looks forward to the journey ahead for our members as progress is made on the back of announcements such as the AUKUS expansion.
QDSA Upcoming Events and Opportunities
QDSA has many upcoming events and opportunities, with more being added each week. Want to find out what is on the horizon? Check out our News section on our website here or subscribe to our e-newsletter here.
The Queensland Defence Science Alliance (QDSA) is a university-led initiative to grow and connect an agile Defence innovation ecosystem, leveraging Queensland’s strengths, to deliver trusted solutions to meet Defence requirements.