Today we continue our series of articles introducing you to representatives from Queensland’s Defence industry. David represents yet another from our ever-expanding pool of diverse and talented professionals paving the way for Queenslanders.
We spoke to David about his many years of experience in the industry and the exhaustive list of contributions he has made over the years.
Getting to Know David Johnson
What are your current roles and responsibilities?
- Rohde & Schwarz Australia (R&S AUS) Head of Land Domain
- Lead an R&S AUS portfolio to deliver capability for Integrated Systems and Solutions
- Australian Industry and Defence Network (AIDN) member – since 2018
- Williams Foundation member – since 2018
- International Data Links Society (IDLSoc) ANZ Chapter member – since 2018
- Australian Defence Information & Electronic Systems Assoc. member – since 2021
- Queensland Defence Industry member – since 2021
What are your career highlights to date?
My career is built on 33 years of global military service. This has given me great insight into how capability development and acquisition can best suit the warfighter’s need and the fundamental role the defence industry plays in achieving that.
As a subject matter expert in global joint fires, my roles were focused on the instrumental delivery of Land 17 Future Artillery Replacement Program, Army After Next concept development and force modernisation for introduction into service of unmanned systems and Air/Land Integration capabilities. These enabled me to have a good understanding of the function and importance of a coordinated joint force.
In 2017, I transitioned into the Defence Industry, where I utilised capability development skills to provide hybrid business development to meet the needs of integrated systems and solutions of multi-domain operations for the joint force.
Rohde & Schwarz Australia (R&S AUS) is another career highlight for me – with 40 years of operations in Australia, the company understands the importance of delivering sovereign capability and how it ensures long term success for Australia. R&S AUS has been actively investing in building its sovereign capabilities over a significant number of years, and this is delivering successes across all sectors within its portfolio, including Defence.
Involvement in Defence Industry
What are some of the Defence specific innovations that you are most proud to have worked on?
To date, I am excited about the ongoing R&S AUS collaboration for innovation with CDIC and QDSA, which ensures sustainable, resilient and predictable defence capability.
The collaboration will see waveform development and cryptography supported by a national security management system for operational encrypted keys. Both meet the current priority need of the Army for sovereign capabilities that provide regional security and US interoperability.
This initiative by Rohde & Schwarz Australia and QDSA will see growth in Queensland supported by QUT academic cooperation and employment for immediate defence capability needs.
In your eyes, how has the Defence industry evolved over the last 10 years – both nationally and here in Queensland?
There has been a significant transition towards working more closely with industry and universities.
The big change really has been the realisation of the need for the significant investment required for Australia to operate future capabilities in the Air, Sea and Land domains.
The rollout of the new vehicle integrated systems and delivery of interoperable capabilities will be the next challenge.
Where do Queensland’s Defence industry strengths currently lie?
Queensland contains 27 per cent of ADF personnel, with a RAAF super base located at Amberley and the majority of the Land Force operating and residing in the state.
This makes it an ideal place for working with the Land and Air domain users to create the future of capabilities. One example being, the paradigm shift to 5G Private Network, Industry 4.0, and maintain knowledge transfer with the academic institutes of QDSA to evolve waveform development and sovereign cryptography into quantum technology.
What opportunities do you see with the establishment of QDSA?
Understanding the interdependency of defence programs assists capital ventures by assuring test and measurement for electromagnetic spectrum survivability. This is achieved by aligning both industrial and academic microcosms to ensure the manufacturing of products in Australia is validated.
The alliance provides pathways for developmental synergies with the defence industry through knowledge transfer and an academic workforce.
The developmental baseline provides defence capability realisation for the evolution of future capabilities.
What QDSA initiatives are you most excited about?
Promoting the development of sovereign waveforms and cryptographic functions through collaboration with Rohde & Schwarz Australia will be a great opportunity.
The ability to provide knowledge and technological advances through this initiative will provide a sustainable Defence force and allow a worthy employment stream from the QDSA sponsored academic institutes well into the future.
We thank David for his time in contributing to this article and providing such great insight into the direction he hopes QDSA collaborations could take.
We will continue to showcase the talents and unsurpassed knowledge of our industry representatives in coming articles. Be sure to join us as we explore the exciting times ahead for the Queensland Defence industry and its research initiatives.
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.