On 17 March, the Australian government launched a Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF), fuelled with A$730 million (U$560 million) to provide innovative and creative solutions for the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) at the same time as benefiting industry and economic growth and stability.
“As our enemies devise new ways to attack, our Defence Force must have advanced ways to respond and overcome new threats,” Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said as he announced the initiative, continuing in pointing out “This is a ten year strategic research and development programme that will deliver game-changing capabilities for the ADF of the future.”
Nine transformational technology areas, highlighted in the 2016 Defence White Paper, will be pursued in a forward-looking research programme speaheaded by the Defence Science and Technology Group:
- cyber security
- space capabilities
- quantum technologies
- trusted autonomous systems
- enhanced human performance
- medical countermeasures
- multi-disciplinary material sciences
- integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
- advanced sensors, hypersonics and directed energy capabilities
The fund will also establish Defence Cooperative Research Centres, university research networks, a Defence research accelerator scheme, an innovation research initiative for small business, and expanded technology foresighting activities.