Getting to Know Warwick Penrose
Following on from the hugely successful EPE MILTECS Showcase event, the QDSA team thought it fitting to introduce you to the driving force behind EPE.
Continuing our series of industry profiles, today, we introduce you to Warwick Penrose.
What are your current roles and responsibilities?
I am the Managing Director of EPE, an Australian owned and Queensland based group of companies providing C-IED, C-CBRN, C-Narcotic, C-Drone, ECM and Deployable Infrastructure capability to clients in Australia, New Zealand, and the US and the wider APAC region.
Involvement in Defence Industry
Warwick has been involved in the Defence Industry through several roles in his career, culminating in his current position. We asked Warwick about his career highlights…
What are your career highlights to date?
I have owned EPE since 2010 after gaining a foundation in the industry through my previous role as Asia Pacific Manager with global C-IED, C-CBRN and ECM technology company Allen-Vanguard.
Before this, I served as a Royal Australian Engineer Officer (Mine Warfare and High-Risk Search Instructor, IEDD, EOD, CBRNE and Improvised Nuclear Device Disposal), where I assisted with, and later commanded, the development of Australia’s first CBRNE Counter-Terrorism Disposal Capability.
During this time, I established the SEARS Foundation whilst on operational tour with NATO in Bosnia Herzegovina. The SEARS Foundation is an NGO created to reduce the high land mine threat from the waterways of Bosnia. NATO recognised my service with a Commander’s Commendation.
My current role at EPE has seen me lead and develop the company to be one of the major suppliers of Response Robotics (specific to Unmanned Systems), with over 240 platforms being used daily by Defence and Law Enforcement across our country.
How do you see the newly established EPE MILTECS facility benefiting the industry?
EPE established MILTECS for several reasons. Firstly, Defence requires very detailed testing, verification and validation data, and without that, capabilities do not get brought into service.
Secondly, Defence asks all its partners to do more, create more, test more and support more domestically within Australia. COVID highlighted the reasons for this. We also need to be able to do all this more quickly.
This facility provides a venue to test and collect the required data and satisfy Defence requests. The MILTECS facilities can be utilised by others to do more, create more, test more and support more. So our clients can continue to do things better, more efficiently and safely.
Images to follow are of the MILTECS Proving Grounds at Pullenvale:
Sovereign Capability and The Future
How is EPE paving the way for Australian sovereign capability?
We hope our MILTECS facility can be seen as an exemplar of a successful public, private and research partnership.
EPE invested $1 million to the MILTECS facilities; Defence acknowledged the importance of this facility by contributing a $1.4 million Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority grant. EPE established a strategic partnership with CSIRO for human-machine teaming, which enabled us to build the facilities you see today at CSIRO Pullenvale. And really, then Defence and the ecosystem can get more out of the $3.5million that CSIRO has invested into the Robot Innovation Center. So in the last six months, we’ve just created $6 million in new infrastructure that wasn’t there six months ago.
The next phase of MILTECS that we didn’t see today is now complete. It provides a National Multi-use Improvised Threat Detection and Mitigation Training and Proving Facility for use by Australian Defence, Police and industry, and potentially other nations in our region. The facility is located at Helidon, 66km from the RAAF Base at Amberley and 105 km from the Enoggera Army Base.
As part of our commitment to the Defence innovation ecosystem in Australia. EPE is a Foundation Industry member on the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) – CBRN StaR Shot Program StaR Shot Advisory Board.
EPE is also a member of the CSIRO’s DATA 61 Early Adaptor Program for WILDCAT SLAM Technology. This enables CSIRO to transfer the WILDCAT Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) sensor technology into EPE for our utilisation into our Unmanned Systems projects.
What do you see for the future of Defence capabilities in Australia?
Over the past six months, our strategic environment has deteriorated dramatically. It’s evident by what is occurring in Ukraine that our likely near peer adversaries aren’t as constrained in using new and improvised threats.
As an Australian Veteran-owned business, EPE sees and understands more than most how much work is needed to ensure that Australian industry and our research partners have the ways and means to generate the new capabilities required to meet the challenges this year and into the future.
EPE and CSIRO Invite Industry and Researchers to Utilise MILTECS Proving Grounds
EPE is spearheading many projects, and the strategic partnership with CSIRO and support by Defence that developed the amazing MILTECS Proving Grounds at Pullenvale is just one. In many aspects, these sites are the first of their kind in Australia. They provide an excellent opportunity for industry, SMEs and researchers to enhance and extend their research and prove the concepts they are building.
A partnership such as that between CSIRO, EPE and Defence is precisely the kind of collaboration that QDSA encourages and facilitates.
Warwick’s vast experience has provided the perfect background for his work at EPE. It has driven him to forge strategies to allow the company to experience incredible success and growth. We thank Warwick for taking the time out of his busy schedule to provide such an insightful discussion.
Learn more about EPE and their MILTECS facility here.
QDSA Upcoming Events and Opportunities
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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.