James Gatley joins EPE following a successful ADF career and recent Defence Industry experience.
James started his ADF career as a communicator, this experience included managing deployable networks and supporting tactical elements. During this time he deployed to Iraq with the Australian Army Training Team in 2004. He commenced service with SOCOMD in 2005 supporting the organisations communications requirements before becoming a qualified member of the unit and changing roles in 2007. Between 2006 and 2017 he completed 10 operational deployments with the Special Operations Task Group and other specialist tasks. This diverse experience allowed him to contribute to capability development as an end user across multiple functions and still provides the foundation to his approach, putting the user’s needs first.
As a consultant post his ADF career he delivered specialist training to diverse user groups, this included Hostile Awareness and Environment Training (HEAT) to Government clients and niche capabilities to the Aviation Industry.
More recently James was the Chief Operating Officer to a tech start-up developing capabilities for the Security and Defence Industries. He supported this organisation establish itself as a legitimate SME and global leader in the counter-drone space. This role allowed James to influence end to end product design based on his domain experience and also provided a firm commercial grounding. The experience ultimately enabling him to better support EPE’s clients within his role as a Capability Manager.
James is passionate about growing his knowledge to ensure EPE continues to provide the best possible solutions and outcomes for our clients.
Veteran owned and proud Employer of Australian Veterans, EPE announces the appointment of David McDonald as Specialist Trainer.
Over 13yrs David has had extensive experience within the Royal Australian Engineer Corps as a High-Risk Search Team Commander and an Explosive Ordnance Technician. He has experience over all aspects of Search and EOD including Conventional Munition Disposal, Counter IED Operations, CBRN and Manual Access Render Safe. David’s experience includes deploying on Military Operations Overseas and at home in a Domestic role.
David has spent the last few years within the Training and Certification Cell at 6ESR, 20 EOD SQN. Here he was in the lead for training and preparation for the ADF EOD Operational Capability. Designing and executing exercises, implementing upskill courses, Tri-Service Explosive Hazard Awareness Training, IED training aid construction and EOD and High-Risk search certification for members prior to deploying on Operations.
David will be in the forefront of training for EPE. Working with our Capability Managers to introduce the latest equipment into service delivering comprehensive face-to-face and online training Packages, instructing on courses for EOD, CBRN and Search upskilling and designing and constructing realistic and relevant custom made IED training aids solutions.
EPE announces the appointment of Tam Abbs as Strategic Pursuits Manager.
Tam joined EPE in February 2021. She brings over 17 years private and public sector experience and tertiary qualifications in Business Communication and Management (at Master level). Prior to joining EPE, Tam managed multidisciplinary client pursuit teams comprising executive and senior global operations personnel.
She is skilled at simplifying complexity to galvanise teams to pursue new business opportunities and/or deliver work packages for local, state and federal government agencies.
As an experienced and agile manager of internal and remote personnel, Tam can align resources and leverage global networks to support strategic pursuits in Defence, Transport, Water, Operations and Maintenance.
Versatile and transparent in her strategic approach, Tam has delivered solutions in process improvement, marketing and communication via alliance partnerships, in-house roles and sub-contractual arrangements. She is skilled in client management, workshop facilitation and delivery of complex communication and stakeholder requirements.
Veteran owned and proud Employer of Australian Veterans, EPE announces the appointment of Craig Jolly as Capture Manager, Land Domain.
Focused on optimising EPE’s solutions for ADF Land Projects that protect our military personnel from IED and CBRNe threats, Craig will lead on customer engagement and solutions architecture.
Craig is a motivated and well-respected military executive with over 35 years of proven experience in complex operational environments. He is renowned for developing innovative solutions to counter emerging threats; developing strategic and operational counter-threat capability and training; and the execution of training in support of operations.
Craig’s expertise is derived from key operational leadership, management and training appointments spanning 35 years in the Australian Army—most notably the development of specialist Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) defence capabilities as part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). He also developed the Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) assessment process and established the CBRNE cell in the Middle East Area of Operations as a member of the ADF CIED Task Force.
Apart from his ADF experience, Craig took long service leave in 2005; during which time he established the Mine Action Centre in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In order to develop this new capability, he worked with US State Department sponsored contractors to establish a demining training school, trained the initial company of deminers and established and executed the first operational demining programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The next-generation ResQ CQL handheld Raman analyzer used by law enforcement, border patrol, and the military for drug, explosive and hazardous materials detection has been recognized for its innovative design, marking a successful collaboration between Rigaku Analytical Devices and Juggernaut Design.
Rigaku Analytical Devices, the market leader in handheld 1064 nm Raman technology, proudly announces that its Rigaku ResQ CQL handheld Raman analyzer has won a prestigious 2020 GOOD DESIGN® Award. The GOOD DESIGN Awards Program organized by the Chicago Athenaeum recognizes the most innovative and cutting-edge industrial, product and graphic designs produced worldwide. The ResQ CQL handheld Raman analyzer was named a top product in the Industrial category.
In collaboration with Juggernaut Design out of Scottsdale, AZ, USA, Rigaku Analytical Devices engineered the ResQ CQL as a next-generation handheld 1064 nm Raman analyzer for advanced chemical threat and illegal drug analysis. Rigaku chose to work with the Juggernaut Design team due to their outstanding track record for producing truly rugged products for industrial applications.
EPE and 2 other Australian companies (Urban Circus, and Insitu Pacific Limited) are partnering with Downer Defence Systems (DDS) to develop and deliver an innovative route clearance capability. DDS has been awarded a $3 million contract through the Defence Innovation Hub as the Prime Systems Integrator for the project to develop a ‘Muskito’ prototype and then deliver a technology demonstration for Defence.
Contributing to the Australian Defence Force’s LAND 154 Phase 4 Project, the Australian industry partnership will develop an unmanned Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) route clearance capability to detect threats above and below the ground’s surface; detect, discriminate and locate subsurface IEDs and flag them via a visual interface. EPE will supply innovation and integration support aligned to the provision of the HDT Hunter WOLF UGV, the Cobham Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), and other technical systems.
EPE Managing Director, Warwick Penrose said “EPE is very pleased to partner with Downer and the Defence Innovation Hub on the Muskito program which aligns perfectly with our focus on the delivery of Force Protection solutions. The program will harness EPE’s CIED domain expertise, technology partners and innovative engineering to deliver a sovereign Australian capability that will protect ADF personnel deployed in non-permissive operational environments.”
Executive General Manager of Downer Defence Systems, Andrew Foster said ‘We are excited to work with the Commonwealth and our industry partners to develop the Muskito system. IEDs and other related threats have been the scourge of Australian and allied service personnel in their operations overseas in recent decades, and we are grateful to be given an opportunity to play a role in helping to mitigate that threat.’
‘This contract underscores the Government’s commitment to working with industry to create genuine and sustainable sovereign industrial capability,’ Foster said.
About EPE. Trusted to Protect
EPE provides CBRND, Counter IED and Force Protection solutions and support to Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces, Law Enforcement, and other government agencies. We are former Counter IED specialists with real world operational experience. We understand how Counter IED and CBRND equipment is used and more importantly, the demands placed on equipment and operators in the current ‘high-threat’ environments in which they may be deployed. We also understand the demands of the training and preparation required for operations. Our aim is to source the very best range of battle-proven equipment to help us deliver to our customers, a comprehensive and sustainable capability to meet evolving threats.
Downer is the leading provider of integrated services in Australia and New Zealand and customers are at the heart of everything it does. It exists to create and sustain the modern environment and its promise is to work closely with its customers to help them succeed, using world-leading insights and solutions to design, build and sustain assets, infrastructure and facilities. For more information visit downergroup.com
For more information
Visit the website at: www.epequip.com or contact Narelle Hoffman, Marketing Manager +61 (07) 3308 9300 or email:
EPE ranks 17th in Australian Defence Magazine Top SME suppliers to Defence
Australian Defence Magazine (ADM) has released their 2020 rankings of the Top Contractors to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and New Zealand Defence Force. The ADM ranking lists the top Contractors to the ADF and New Zealand Defence Forces (NZDF).
In the Top 20 ANZ SME ranking (which includes only Australian and New Zealand owned and operated suppliers) EPE is ranked 17th. EPE’s consistent position in these rankings since 2011, demonstrates our solid commitment to provide solutions to protect ADF and NZDF personnel. As an Australian veteran owned and managed small business, EPE’s strength has always been our unique ability to be agile and responsive to our customers’ requirements while delivering world-leading solutions, supported by domestic Through Life Support and specialist training.
EPE was Finalist for the Australian Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards 2020, in the medium size company division.
EOD10 is the world’s most trusted suit and is in-service with:
All four main branches of the United States military use Med-Eng Bomb Suits. The US Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves have all selected the EOD 10 generation Bomb Suit to protect their EOD teams. The US Army selected Med-Eng to build and deliver the ABS II Bomb Suit.
Over 50 countries have adopted the EOD 10
Four of the Five Eyes countries have purchased the EOD 10 (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA)
24 of the 30 NATO Member countries have bought the EOD 10
Med-Eng is the only company to have an NIJ certified bomb suit.
Med-Eng suits are also used at all levels of US Federal law enforcement with an explosive related response requirement.
Med-Eng bomb suits are used by every State, County, and Municipal Bomb Squad through the United States. An ever-growing number of these squads are using the EOD 10.
The Navy Autonomous Warrior 2020 (AW2020) Program aims to embrace Joint and Allied services, as well as Industry and Academia to promote the incorporation of Robotic, Autonomous Systems and Artificial Intelligence (RAS-Ai) into Navy planning.
EPE participated in Exercise Genesis, the first event in the program that demonstrated COTS robotic and autonomous systems as a proof of concept. The collaboration between industry ensured a heterogeneous robot and UAV fleet and a great outcome for all involved including Emesent, Boeing Insitu, CSIRO and Data 61, HDT and EPE, and FreeSpace.
Thousands of litres of methyl fentanyl point to ‘unprecedented’ production of opioids in so-called Golden Triangle area. Myanmar has made south-east Asia’s largest-ever seizure of synthetic drugs in raids that revealed “unprecedented” production of opioids in the area, the UN has said. Between February and April, authorities swooped on labs in the lawless Kutkai area of Shan state, seizing nearly 200m meth tablets, 500kg (1,100lbs) of crystal meth, 300kg of heroin, and 3,750 litres of methyl fentanyl.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) described the haul as one of the largest and most successful counter-narcotics operations in the history of the region. “What has been unearthed through this operation is truly off the charts,” Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC south-east Asia and Pacific representative said in a statement. The production network could have been possible only with the backing of serious transnational criminal groups, he added. The raids unearthed “unprecedented” methyl fentanyl, the sign of a new trend of synthetic opioid production emerging “on a scale nobody anticipated”, said Douglas.
Fifty times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times more potent than morphine, fentanyl can be lethal from as little as two milligrams – the equivalent of a few grains of sand. It has fuelled an opioid crisis in the US that killed 32,000 people in 2018.
Myanmar is under pressure to stem the deluge of drugs from its border regions. Shan state is part of the “Golden Triangle” – a wedge of land cutting into Myanmar, Laos, China and Thailand and virtually untroubled by authorities despite the multi-billion dollar trade. Myanmar is the world’s second-biggest producer of heroin after Afghanistan, and is now widely thought to be the largest global source of meth, fuelled by the flood of precursor chemicals from China.
In response to the urgent requirement for ventilators in the UK due to the COVID-19 crisis, STI (Surface Technology International) based in Hook is building ventilators for the National Health Service (NHS). As an Advanced Electronics Contract Manufacturer STI has built specialist electronics for the global Defence industry for over 30 years.
STI and EPE have an ongoing partnership aimed at embedding sovereign capability through contract manufacturing in Australia of specialist electronics equipment for Defence and Law Enforcement customers in the region.’
Leidos Australia today announced it has selected Australian veteran-owned defence supplier, EPE, to support the Australian Department of Defence’s Land 2110 Phase 1B project. Under the subcontract, Leidos Australia and EPE will deliver critical defence capabilities in the area of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence (CBRND) to the Australian Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG). The subcontract has a total value of $10 million.
As a subcontractor EPE will provision LCD 3.3 person worn chemical detectors and FILMARRAY® biological confirmatory systems to protect Australian Defence personnel from chemical and biological agents. The LCD 3.3 is a personal device for the detection and identification of Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) and Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs). FILMARRAY enables users to test for a comprehensive panel of respiratory viruses and biological agents in one easy-to-use test. Leidos Australia will support delivery and sustainment detectors and confirmatory systems for the life of the contract.
“EPE is proud to be a veteran-owned business with veteran employees who have served worldwide in specialist EOD, CIED and CBRN roles,” said Warwick Penrose, owner of EPE. “We are pleased to collaborate with Leidos and leverage our core business to provide specialist capabilities to our Australian Defence community.”
“Leidos has delivered complex logistics and CBRND capabilities globally for decades,” said Acting Leidos Australia Chief Executive, Paul Chase. “In creating our team for Land 2110, we have subcontracted with Australian SMEs, including EPE, to ensure we are delivering the best outcomes for Defence whilst supporting the growth and sustainment of the Australian industry.”
This is the fourth major subcontract awarded under the Land 2110 Phase 1B project, bringing the total amount awarded to more than $57 million.
FILMARRAY is a registered trademark of BioFire in the United States and/or other countries.
Joint Media Release The Hon Melissa Price MP, Minister for Defence Industry &
Federal Member for Brisbane, the Hon Trevor Evans MP.
The Morrison Government’s investment in a Brisbane small business has paid off, with EPE securing a $10 million contract with Leidos Australia to deliver chemical and biological defence capabilities to the Australian Defence Force.
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP, said veteran-owned EPE received a $300,000 funding boost last year from the Morrison Government’s Defence Innovation Hub to help the business expand and develop its technologies.
“What this shows is that our record investment in Australia’s defence capability is helping businesses grow and succeed, all while building a strong and sustainable defence industry,” Minister Price said.
“EPE’s selection is indicative of the depth and capability of the defence industry in Queensland and Australia more broadly.”
Federal Member for Brisbane, the Hon Trevor Evans MP, said EPE specialises in technologies to protect personnel from emerging threats such as the risk of chemical and biological attacks.
“EPE will provide a detection capability that is critical to enabling the protection of Defence personnel in chemical and biological threat environments,” Mr Evans said.
“Minister Price and I visited EPE in June last year to announce their Defence Innovation Hub contract, so we’re thrilled to see how our Government’s support has given them the leverage to secure this significant contract.
“I congratulate this fantastic local Brisbane business on helping to ensure the ADF has the best capability to defend Australia’s national interests.”
Australian Veteran owned Defence SME announced as Finalist in Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Award
EPE has been announced as a finalist in the annual Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards for 2020 Employer of the Year – Medium sized business.
EPE is a 100% Australian veteran owned company delivering capability that protects our soldiers and first responders to the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces and other government agencies.
EPE’s Director of Capability and former Commanding Officer of the Special Operations Engineer Regiment (SOER), Scott Corrigan, is proud of our Veteran status ‘EPE is founded on the specialist skills and expertise of Veterans, with 65% of our staff being former Defence Force members. As an employer we focus on supporting the transition to private sector by optimising the specialist skills developed in military service and underpinning this with new commercial skills not developed in Defence. ‘
The finalists, announced by Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester, represent a range of industries and professions highlighting the contributions made by veterans in the civilian workforce and the businesses that support them.
The Awards ceremony will be held on 24 March in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra.
Veteran owned and proud Employer of Australian Veterans, EPE announces the appointment of Scott Corrigan as Director Capability.
Focused on optimising the overall capability of the ADF and Australian Security Agencies to protect our military personnel and first responder community, Scott will lead on capability and client engagement with EPE’s key federal government clients including Australian Defence Force, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Home Affairs and Border Force, and the Primes.
Scott is a highly regarded senior executive with over 28 years of proven leadership and management experience in the design, development and implementation of solutions to address complex threat environments; capability and training development; and organisational risk challenges. “I have spent my entire career developing and delivering capability to protect our personnel in harms way, and working for EPE offers the perfect mechanism to continue to deliver trusted force protection capability to the ADF, NZDF and other government agencies”.
Scott’s expertise is derived from key operational leadership, management and training appointments spanning 23 years in the Australian Army. Most notably his experience includes the development of specialist EOD, IED and CBRNE capability whilst Commander of the Special Operations Engineer Regiment / Incident Response Regiment during the high operational tempo period 2009 to 2012; and key contributions to the Iraq and Afghanistan theatres of operation during attachment and deployment with the US Joint IED Defeat Organisation (JIEDDO) and the Australian Counter IED Task Force (2007-2009).
He then undertook three years as the specialist CBRNE advisor and capability developer within the UAE Presidential Guard (2013 to 2016); and followed this with a two year appointment as the Director Counter Terrorism within the NSW Department of Justice—Office for Police, where he developed strong interstate and Commonwealth relationships for operational capability and policy development for terrorism crisis events.
EPE ranks 13th in Australian Defence Magazine Top SME suppliers to Defence
Australian Defence Magazine (ADM) has released their 2019 rankings of the Top Contractors to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and New Zealand Defence Force. The ADM ranking lists the top Contractors to the ADF and New Zealand Defence Forces (NZDF).
In the Top 20 ANZ SME ranking (which includes only Australian and New Zealand owned and operated suppliers) EPE is ranked 13th. EPE’s consistent position in these rankings since 2011, demonstrates our solid commitment to provide solutions to protect ADF and NZDF personnel. As an Australian veteran owned and managed small business, EPE’s strength has always been our unique ability to be agile and responsive to our customers’ requirements while delivering world-leading solutions, supported by domestic Through Life Support and specialist training.
In 2019 we have invested more than ever in Research and Development as we successfully partnered with the ADF to deliver two further Projects through the Defence Innovation Hub. We were also awarded a New Zealand Minister of Defence Award for Excellence. Our New Zealand subsidiary, EPE. Trusted to Protect Ltd won the Award for Category 2: Provision of Product to Defence less than $15 million for delivery of the Counter Explosive Hazards (CEH) Project.
ANZ SME EPE wins New Zealand Minister of Defence Award for Excellence.
The 2019 Minister of Defence Awards for Excellence to Industry were presented on 25th November by The Honourable Ron Mark at Parliament House in Wellington, New Zealand. EPE. Trusted to Protect Ltd won the Award for Category 2: Provision of Product to Defence less than $15 million for delivery of the Counter Explosive Hazards (CEH) Project.
LT COL Adam Modd from the NZDF Capability Branch explained that the “CEH Project is to enable an expeditionary bomb disposal capability for both army and navy. Our personnel are required to go into harm’s way to protect people and property, and in doing so we’re trying to give them the best protection we can for them to achieve their mission. Working with a Prime Vendor such as EPE has allowed us to buy the right equipment in a timely manner and get it into service to meet the project timelines.’
The CEH Project Manager from the Ministry of Defence, Paula Brasovan commented, ”EPE was nominated because of their professionalism, they’ve gone the extra mile to be able to provide us with the information that we required”.
EPE New Zealand Business Development Manager, Andy Cross said ”The Ministry of Defence Project Team working with EPE as a Prime Vendor Industry Partner was able to deliver a capability that is scalable, interoperable, compatible with in-service equipment, with contemporary cutting edge technology, while heading off obsolescence all within a Rapid Procurement.”
While EPE Australia has supported NZDF for over ten years, this Project gave EPE the opportunity to establish infrastructure in New Zealand with a NZ company and office with a through life support workshop in the Wellington region, close to the Trentham Military Base. EPE New Zealand now employs 4 people with reach back to the EPE facility in Brisbane and our global network of Channel Partners.
The Awards were established by the New Zealand Defence Industry Advisory Council (NZDIAC) in 1998 to highlight and reward contributions made by industry to Defence. This year, Awards were presented in the following categories:
Category 1: Provision of a service to Defence less than $15 million
Category 2: Provision of product to Defence less than $15 million
Category 3: Provision of a product or service to Defence in excess of $15 million
Health and Safety Citation: Strongest overall demonstration of excellence in health and safety
Individual Special Award: For outstanding contribution from an individual from Industry to the relationship between Defence and Industry
Company Special Award: For outstanding contribution by a company who has demonstrated a significant contribution to Community and Nation through their relationship with Defence.
EPE provides innovative solutions that protect our customers from an array of current and emerging threats. We are force protection specialists who apply our real-world operational experience to support and protect defence, law enforcement and emergency response personnel. We further leverage this experience to provide solutions to threats faced by industry and critical infrastructure.
Our solutions include: Deployable Infrastructure; Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED); Counter Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (C-CBRNE); Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) and Counter RPAS (C-RPAS); and unmanned systems. These capabilities are optimised through user-focused training combined with Through Life Support (TLS) delivered in operational theatres as well as domestically in Australia and New Zealand
For more information
Contact Narelle Hoffman, Marketing Manager +61 (07) 3308 9300 or email:
CASA investigating wayward drone during RAAF flyover
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is investigating a drone that was seen flying over the Newcastle 500 racetrack at the same time a RAAF Hornet was thrilling crowds in a low flying display over the race precinct.
The small drone was seen hovering at a height of around 100 metres before it dropped suddenly to the ground near the old railway workshops during the RAAF display on Saturday afternoon.
A strict no fly zone was enforced for the RAAF displays on the Saturday and Sunday of Supercars.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority says “it is aware of the incident and is gathering information about it to determine if there has been a breach.”
It’s understood Supercars organisers and CASA had taken measures to anticipate the risk and were on the lookout for drones.
EPE has developed a complete suite of counter drone technology that enable organisations to detect, identify, monitor, or mitigate drones flying in controlled airspace (within legislative requirements) dictated by our customers’ needs and budgets.
Great afternoon for EPE hosting the Capability Management Program. The Program is delivered by the Capability & Technology Management College (CTMC), training the next generation of capability technology managers for the ADF.
EPE supported the Legacy Defence Charity Ball with 12 EPE staff on a Corporate Table. Our team had a great night highlighted by some moving speeches of enduring support to bereaved ADF families.
Legacy is dedicated to caring for the families of veterans who have given their life, or health, as a result of their Defence Force service. This care extends to veterans who have served in war and on peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.
The Defence Charity Ball has been held annually since 2007, and all proceeds go towards funding the continuing work of Legacy.
This possible fentanyl exposure incident highlights need for large-area fentanyl neutralisation.
In a recent article by Eric Levenson and Mirna Alsharif on CNN, six staff members at the Chesire Correctional Institute were taken to local hospitals for possible exposure to fentanyl.
If fentanyl becomes aerosolised, it can be easily dispersed over an area by air circulated by fans or air conditioners. This can contaminate large surface areas or cause overdoses.
Correctional facilities are beginning to see these types of incidents occur frequently within cell blocks or common areas.
To reduce the risk of accidental overdose, personnel at jails and prisons should be trained to identify fentanyl and other synthetic opioids and response teams set up to quickly neutralise the threat before it spreads to larger areas.
EPE offers a wide range of decontamination kits that scale from an individual responder size to a large team or area decon kit that utilises an electrostatic sprayer. Details on the decon kits available can be found here.
EPE Innovation Engineer member of Robotics Innovation Workshop Team at NASA.
Australian owned small Defence company, EPE. Trusted to Protect is investing in Innovation and Prototyping including recently sending our Robotics Engineer, Robbie Wild to the US for a five-day Robotics Workshop jointly hosted by NASA and the CTTSO (Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office) at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
As a result of EPE’s focus and investment on developing solutions to evolving threats through innovative integration and prototyping, EPE has successfully delivered three projects through the Defence Innovation Hub over the last 18 months. The projects provide stand-off explosive and narcotic detection for Navy Boarding Parties; and Ground Penetrating Radar integrated onto in-service TALON robots for Route Clearance, and an enhanced version which physically marks and digitally maps the cleared routes to sub “cm” level accuracy.
EPE Director, Warwick Penrose said ‘We are investing in prototyping and integration to develop innovative ways to remove our soldiers and first responders from threats and building Australian skills and Australian Industry Capability in the process.’
The Workshop jointly hosted by CTTSO and the NASA is aimed to assist with CTTSO’s mission of expanding bomb response capabilities development. More specifically, the partnership addresses the CTTSO Improvised Device Defeat/ Explosives Countermeasures subgroup’s focus area of remote means, which seeks to develop or enhance technologies to remotely conduct neutralisation of unexploded ordnance (UXO), improvised explosives and their precursors, and hazard devices containing chemical, biological, or radiological materials.
The Workshop brought together bomb technicians and engineers to leverage their different perspectives while optimising their synergies to rapidly prototype robots for deployment on EOD operations at a substantially lower cost than commercially available. The bomb technicians represented Israeli Bomb Squads and US Army and Air Force, and Robbie Wild represented Australia amongst the engineers which mainly consisted of NASA Robotics engineers.
Joint Media Release: The Hon Melissa Price MP, Minister for Defence Industry and The Hon Trevor Evans MP, Member for Brisbane
A Brisbane company that specialises in developing technologies to protect military and emergency response personnel has won backing from the Australian Government.
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP announced that firm EPE has secured a $300,000 Defence contract to help it grow its business.
The company specialises in technologies to protect personnel from emerging threats such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), countering drones and the risk of chemical and biological attacks.
The Minister toured the company’s facility today with the Member for Brisbane, Trevor Evans MP.
“This contract is a demonstration of how the Australian Government’s $200 billion investment over ten years in Defence capabilities is helping small and medium sized businesses right across Australia,” Minister Price said.
“Our investment in Defence is much more than just spending on big companies. EPE is an Australian SME which is working to protect and save lives on the international stage.
“Small and medium sized firms are every bit a part of our defence industry as our major partners.
“This funding will help EPE to improve its radar technology used to identify and track IEDs.
“I congratulate EPE and thank them for their work in helping Defence to deliver innovative new solutions to important global issues.”
Trevor Evans MP said EPE was a fantastic example of how a local Australian business can be part of the enormous defence industries investment under this Government.
“It was terrific to return to EPE today to see how this Brisbane company is developing innovative defence solutions,” Mr Evans said.
“EPE is an outstanding example of Brisbane leading the way when it comes to new solutions in protective and defensive technologies, doing big things on the world stage.”
“This is just one of many local success stories we are seeing in small and medium sized businesses which are receiving support to grow thousands of local jobs in our economy.”
Minister Price said funding for the company was awarded through the Defence Innovation Hub’s Special Notice solicitation process as part of Army Innovation Day 2018.
“The Defence Innovation Hub is working with industry to invest around $640 million until 2025-26 in developing innovative technologies,” Minister Price said.
EPE was thrilled to host The Hon Marise Payne Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Trevor Evans Member for Brisbane along with their teams Matt, Wade and Tony at our facility in Brisbane. Having supported Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for over a decade, we truly appreciate the opportunity to give the Minister an overview of the capability we provide that keeps our government staff safe on deployment in hostile environments. The entire EPE team genuinely enjoyed the opportunity to showcase bomsbuits and drive robots with Marise and Trevor.
QinetiQ North America (QNA) today announced that it has won the competition for the U.S. Army’s Common Robotic System-Individual (CRS(I)) program. The seven-year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, valued up to $164,487,260, is for the delivery of small ground robots. It includes a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase worth approximately $20m over one-to-two years, followed by a series of annual production releases. QNA has been awarded a $4,051,837 initial order as part of the LRIP phase.
The CRS(I) robot is designed to be back-packable and is equipped with advanced sensors and mission modules for dismounted forces to enhance mission capabilities. CRS(I) features an interoperability profile (IOP) compatible open architecture to support a variety of payloads and missions to detect, identify, and counter hazards.
This significant win for small ground robots builds on QNA’s recent contract awards for the Route Clearance Interrogation System program (RCIS) and Phase II of the Common Robotic System-Heavy program (CRS-H).
“Providing robust, reliable, and exceptionally capable ground robots to support our armed services has been a driving passion at QNA for decades now,” said Jeff Yorsz, President of QinetiQ North America. “Our CRS(I) robot combines performance, intuitive control, and easy transport with a very competitive price point. This will redefine the market for next-generation back-packable robots.”
Warwick Penrose, Director of EPE took the opportunity to attend a working lunch with the Australian Defence Minister, The Hon. Christopher Pyne, New Zealand Defence Minister, The Hon. Ron Mark along with both of the Chief of Defence Forces and the NZ High Commissioner, to discuss current capability delivery and Through Life Support contracts awarded to EPE that are supporting both the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). EPE was one of five Australian businesses at the lunch that all provide capability to both country’s Defence Forces.
As a small 100% Australian owned business supporting both the ADF and NZDF, EPE was grateful for the ongoing encouragement and advice offered by both Ministers and Service Chiefs. A trusted provider of Counter IED, CBRN and many other niche capabilities to both Forces for over a decade, EPE’s support to NZDF has grown significantly in recent years. As a result, EPE are opening their first New Zealand office in early April, close to the Trentham Military Camp, delivering products and services across several projects. The current project include the Counter Explosive Hazards (CEH) project, a project that is delivering NZ Special Forces their deployable EOD / CBRN and Exploitation capability, as well as Master Service Agreements with NZDF for Deployable Infrastructure, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence (CBRND) capabilities.
EPE will continue to focus on delivery of Force Protection solutions into both countries with an emphasis on technologies that help to take individuals out of the danger area.
Drones flying through Watch and Act zones of Esperance fires yesterday hindered efforts to battle out-of-control blazes and prevented up to 100,000 litres of water being dropped by aerial support.
A white and a black drone was sighted flying through the Howick Watch and Act area yesterday at about 4.20pm, seriously risking the safety of the eight aerial support air crafts and forcing them to land.
Incident control officer Danny Mosconi said the air crafts remained grounded for two to three hours and the delay had a “significant impact” on crews who were already under serious pressure to battle the fires.
“Once aerial support and water bombers leave the area … this then poses a risk of fires gaining intensity, which in this case it did,” he said.
“We’ve been working since that incident to contain those fires.”
London airports purchase equipment in wake of incidents that caused around 1,000 flights to be grounded
The UK’s largest airports are set to spend millions of pounds on anti-drone equipment, the Guardian understands, as they seek to protect themselves from future attacks like that which grounded about 1,000 flights into and out of Gatwick airport during the Christmas period.
The country’s two busiest hubs – London’s Heathrow and Gatwick – have brought in their own military-grade anti-drone apparatus. The owners of both airports invested millions of pounds in the equipment after about 140,000 passengers were affected by the unprecedented disruption to Gatwick.
EPE is a proud partner of the Australian Army On the Job Trainee (OJT) Program. Our team of technicians supporting specialist Counter IED equipment for ADF offers OJTs access to unique skillsets and gives them hands on experience working in a Defence Industry facility on: FP-ECM, Robotics, Counter Drone Solutions and building specialist devices for Counter IED training.
The calibre of Army apprentices placed at EPE over the past 4 years has ensured this Program has been mutually beneficial by providing training to the next generation of Defence Electronic Technicians whilst providing efficiency and innovation benefits to the company. As a result of recent Master Services Agreements with the New Zealand Defence Force, the EPE Through Life Support team has expanded and we’ve recently employed one of our past talented young OJT’s upon medical discharge from ADF.
EPE is a 100% Australian owned company that demonstrates our commitment to the Defence community through:
Recognised Supporter of Veterans Employment – 65% of EPE employees are veterans
Recognised Supporter of Reservists Employment – 25% of employees are active reservists
Multiple donation to the Australian War Memorial Afghanistan Exhibit
A Queensland company which has installed counter-drone security at a critical infrastructure site with a restricted airspace in Australia says it has detected 400 drones in just six months.
EPE uses the US-developed MESMER drone technology, which instead of using jamming techniques exploits drone protocols to identify a drone’s unique identification number and take control of the device.
EPE provides a range of security services including countering IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and chemical weapons as well as drones. Its top customers include the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces, DFAT, the Attorney-General’s Department, as well as Australian police and emergency services.
Keith Mollison, a former bomb disposal specialist with the Australian and British military, now with EPE, said they had installed the MESMER system in the first half of 2018, after the client, which he is prohibited from naming, reported numerous drone sightings overhead.
“They had in the low tens of drones sighted over a period of time,” he said.
But because drones were “very small” and “fast-moving,” making them “difficult to spot by the naked eye” the actual number was far greater, he said.
“Our system has been in operation for just over six months now and it has detected well over 400 individual drones in that time. It was a surprise to the client and to us just how many there were, so the order of magnitude of the problem is quite significant,” Mr Mollison said.
While the MESMER system can disable drones by either landing them or returning to sender, the law currently only allows for the drones to be detected and identified but not downed, unless special powers have been granted by state or federal governments for one-off events or designated areas.
EPE ranks 13th in Australian Defence Magazine Top SME suppliers to Defence
Australian Defence Magazine (ADM) has released their 2018 rankings of the Top Contractors to the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The ADM ranking lists the top Contractors to the ADF and New Zealand Defence Forces (NZDF).
In the Top SME ranking for 2018, EPE ranks 25th among Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs). In the Top 20 ANZ SME ranking (which includes only Australian and New Zealand owned suppliers) EPE is ranked 13th. EPE’sconsistent position in these rankings since 2011, demonstrates our solid commitment to provide solutions to protect ADF and NZDF personnel. As an Australian veteran owned and managed small business, EPE’s strength has always been our unique ability to be agile and responsive to our customers’ requirements while delivering world-leading solutions, supported by Integrated Logistics Support and specialist training.
In the 2018 financial year we have invested more than ever in Research and Development as we have successfully partnered with the ADF to deliver two Projects through the Defence Innovation Hub and have been awarded a further 2 Projects which will be delivered over the next year.
ANAA, Yemen (AP) — A bomb-laden drone launched by Yemen’s Shiite rebels exploded over a military parade Thursday for the Saudi-led coalition, killing at least six people in a brazen attack threatening an uneasy U.N.-brokered peace in the Arab world’s poorest nation.
The attack at the Al-Anad Air Base showed the unwillingness of Yemen’s Houthi rebels to halt fighting in the civil war, even if it doesn’t violate a peace deal reached last month in Sweden between them and Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
The Houthi attack near the southern port city of Aden with a new drone variant also raised more questions about Iran’s alleged role in arming the rebels with drone and ballistic missile technology, something long denied by Tehran despite researchers and U.N. experts linking the weapons to the Islamic Republic
In the fields of Grafenwoehr, Germany, service members from the U.S., the U.K. and other U.S. Department of Defense entities watched as several new unmanned aerial tools were explained and demonstrated during a multinational joint equipment training brief April 2, 2018.
Led by a group of civilians from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, the training brief served as a precursor to a scheduled Robotic Complex Breach Concept demonstration later this week. That demonstration will see the use of new air and ground equipment for the first time by Soldiers.
The unmanned aerial capabilities on display included the Lethal Miniature Ariel Missile System, Puma, and Instant Eye, which provided Soldiers the ability to evaluate and detect hazards in the training area from a safe distance.
“The aviation assets are invaluable,” said Staff Sgt. Brian Logan, a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Specialist. “One of the aviation systems, the Instant Eye, can actually detect hazardous exposure such as chemical or biological threats. The best way to prevent a CBRN injury is avoidance, and that’s what these assets allow us to do, avoid unnecessary exposure.”
Another aerial asset, the Puma system, is a small unmanned aircraft that gives Soldiers the ability to reconnoiter an area, capture photos and other mission enhancing abilities, without placing individuals in harm’s way.
InstantEye Robotics is pleased to announce it has secured a contract with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in support of PMA-263, the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) Program Office, to field 32 InstantEye Mk-3 GEN5-D1 SUAS systems (64 aircraft).
This procurement is being executed in support of a United States Marine Corps urgent needs request for field user evaluation. The new InstantEye Mk-3 GEN5-D1 platform expands mission scope and provides additional Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition capability to the individual Marine or Sailor.
“We are very excited to start fielding the first system in our new InstantEye Mk-3 line of products, which is designed to further strengthen the security of our SUAS products as well as expand the capabilities and features of our systems,” said Tom Vaneck, Vice President of InstantEye Robotics. “The Marines have been great supporters of the InstantEye systems, and we think the InstantEye Mk-3 GEN5 system will greatly complement their existing portfolio and enhance force protection while reducing operational risk.”
The InstantEye Mk-3 GEN5-D1 is the smallest (~250g) in the InstantEye family of combat-proven, high-performance, affordable systems. It is an encrypted, all-digital system with superb real-time video and still imagery. Due to its small size, it has low audible and visual signatures, enabling it to operate undetected in close proximity to targets of interest. The system requires only a single operator and goes from a stowed configuration to fully operational in approximately one minute. With an ability to operate in all weather and locations, it is an unmatched tactical enabler with operational effects.
InstantEye Robotics is a division of Physical Sciences Inc., both located in Andover Massachusetts. InstantEye Robotics is a global leader in tactical unmanned aircraft systems. When customers need a reliable, portfolio-manageable, multi-mission system, they choose InstantEye.
Autonomous Warrior 2018 at HMAS Cresswell provides a forum to demonstrate the potential for autonomous systems to support future Defence operations. EPE has been at the forefront of delivering protective equipment and unmanned systems to ADF to keep our soldiers at a safe distance from explosive hazards for 2 decades. As unmanned and autonomous systems develop rapidly, we are providing innovative solutions for Protected Route Clearance and Neutralisation to protect our soldiers from IED’s. Our medium term plan is focused on enhancing our recent capabilities developed through the Defence Innovation Hub and further developing our Australian Industry Capability through advanced manufacturing of some of these capabilities.
At Autonomous Warrior 2018 (AW18), EPE demonstrated the Armtrac 20T Robot for conventional demining, Explosive Ordnance operations and Counter-IED operations. The platform is flexible and scalable and provides forces with improved mobility. The system is sufficiently robust and agile enough to move across country and provide a surrogate scout for dismounted foot patrols; in this role it would enhance situational awareness and stand-off detection of threats. However, in mechanised operations, it could equally be transported on a standard 3.5 tonne trailer and be prepared for operations within minutes of identifying a potential threat for survey, investigation or render safe.
EPE also displayed the MESMER™ Counter Drone solution at AW18. MESMER™ uses Protocol Manipulation to detect, identify and mitigate drones. Unlike other systems that employ kinetic effects or radio jamming, which can have indiscriminate secondary effects, MESMER™ is a low power system, operating below 1 watt and within ACMA regulatory constraints. It only affects targeted drones without impacting other nearby communications systems. The MESMER™ counter drone system is currently installed at a sensitive and confidential critical infrastructure site in Australia.
Minister for Defence Industry, Steven Ciobo attends Royal Australian Navy Testing of Stand Off Detection prototype
The Royal Australian Navy has been testing EPE’s Maritime Portable Raman Improvised Explosive Detector (PRIED) system in Darwin this week. This project, awarded under the Defence Innovation Hub to the value of approximately $1 million, involves EPE working with Navy to develop a portable dangerous substance and explosives detector suitable for maritime operations.
EPE Project Manager, David Rye onsite in Darwin said, ‘Testing the prototype with Navy this week, we have achieved all Test Performance Measures beyond expectation.’
The function of the unit is to provide stand-off detection of narcotics, explosives, homemade explosives (HME), chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, toxic industrial materials and related chemical precursors. The PRIED is man portable and can rapidly scan from 10m-40m with the ability to scan in excess of 40m (depending on the material) and day/night conditions. It uses a “next generation” eye safe raman spectroscopy sensor that utilizes deep-ultraviolet (DUV) illumination without detonating explosive material.
Warwick Penrose, Managing Director of EPE, a small Australian business based in Brisbane, is proud to be working closely with Defence to develop this next generation force protection capability for those members of the Royal Australian Navy who engage in boarding operations.
“The PRIED project recognises EPE’s long term commitment and investment in building and developing sovereign Force Protection capabilities that help take Australian servicemen out of the danger zone. Our team delivers a broad spectrum of innovative Force Protection capabilities that are in service today with the ADF, NZDF as well as local and federal police and first responders” Warwick said.
This Defence Innovation Hub project funded by the Federal Government gives EPE the opportunity to further develop this technology which has been deployed for force protection on Land, and modify it to meet the unique requirements of maritime application both in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.
Portable Raman IED Detection Systems (PRIED) provides stand-off detection of Explosives, Narcotics and Chemicals and removes the operator from the threat area allowing them to detect from a distance. The video looks at the cutting edge work being achieved by DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) working with Alakai to reduce the size of the system from man-packable to handheld. EPE has been funded 950k by the Australian Defence Innovation Hub to deliver a Prototype for our Maritime boarding parties in support of our Navy’s Counter Narcotic program in the gulf. PRIED was designed primarily for employment in the land domain and has not been built with consideration for salt water ingress. The Maritime PRIED project will deliver a PRIED prototype that has been optimised for maritime operations with the intent of providing enhanced protection to RAN boarding parties. This project is scheduled for completion in Nov 2018.
EPE, Thales Australia and Department 13 signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Land Forces today in Adelaide following successful rapid integration of MESMER™ Counter Drone capability into the Thales Bushmaster.
MOU with Thales Australia, EPE and D13 to develop and integrate a commercialised version of MESMER™operating through the Thales ICS.
Mobile prototype of MESMER™ integrated into a globally proven military platform, the Bushmaster.
Adelaide, South Australia – This morning at Land Forces EPE, Thales and Department 13 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) following successful integration of the MESMER™ Counter Drone solution into the Bushmaster. The MOU outlines the intent for this solution to provide an interim cyber capability for the vehicle platform.
Drones have become a persistent and pervasive threat to deployed members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), with insurgents using cheap commercial drones to survey defensive positions, assess the disposition of troops as well as deliver munitions and IED’s with disturbing ease and accuracy. Troops deploying from Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) need the ability to deny enemies the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) without impacting friendly radio frequencies (RF). This has prompted EPE, Department 13 and Thales to integrate the MESMER™ Counter UAS (C-UAS) capability into the Bushmaster as an innovative prototype being displayed at the Land Forces Conference in Adelaide.
The Thales Bushmaster is combat proven, offering high protection and mobility. It has been successfully deployed by three armies on operations in the Middle East, Africa and Pacific. On-going design enhancements, a wide range of user selectable mission equipment and mature through life support have ensured that Bushmaster continues to offer leading capability to meet emerging threats and evolving customer requirements. The Thales Integral Computing System (ICS) is an example of this, implementing a network-based architecture to centrally host all applications in the vehicle and enable the integration of new technologies to combat evolving threats.
Warwick Penrose, EPE Director said ‘The integration of the MESMER Counter Drone capability into the Bushmaster completed in 3 weeks demonstrates that EPE and Thales can successfully work together to meet tight deadlines. The success of this prototype further supports our short-term plans to establish an advanced manufacturing capacity in Australia to deliver sovereign capability.’
MESMER employs protocol manipulation techniques to manage a single or swarm of UAS. It detects and identifies drone signals using Radio Frequency (RF) protocol signatures. Protocol manipulation then enables MESMER to take advantage of weaknesses inherent in digital radio systems allowing safe mitigation of threats. This low power, surgical approach has several advantages over kinetic energy or jamming techniques, both of which can have collateral impacts on untargeted nearby assets and friendly RF systems. MESMER’s software defined architecture allows it to be constantly updated in response to evolutions in current UAS threats and emerging capabilities. This flexible software defined architecture also enables it to be seamlessly integrated into the Thales ICS.
The MESMER capability is on display at Land Forces at the EPE Stand 1N29 and on the Bushmaster at the Thales Stand 1F15.
EPE provides innovative solutions to protect Military and Emergency Response personnel from current and emerging threats. We are force protection specialists with real world operational experience. Our solutions include Counter Drone, Counter IED (Improvised Explosive Devices, including Radio Controlled Devices), and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence (CBRND). EPE balances global reach with local innovation and is establishing advanced manufacturing capacity in Australia to deliver sovereign capability.
ABOUT THALES AUSTRALIA
Thales in Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management and ground transport systems to security systems and services. Employing around 3,600 people, Thales in Australia recorded revenues of more than A $1.2 billion in 2017 and export revenue of over A$1.6 billion in the past 10 years.
Thales Australia has a history of patient investment to build advanced in-country capability across manufacturing, critical systems and services. Close collaborative relationships with local customers, Australian SME suppliers and research institutions combined with technology transfer from our global business enables Thales to tailor high quality solutions for Australian and export markets.
For more information:
contact Narelle Hoffman, Marketing and Communications +61 (07) 3308 9300 or email:
Four high-security Queensland prisons went into lockdown on Sunday night after drones were illegally flown overhead.
Queensland Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Martin said the drone use over Brisbane Correctional Centre, Brisbane Women’s Correctional Centre, Wolston Correctional Centre and Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre was “irresponsible”.
Queensland Police is investigating the illegal drone use.
The four prisons returned to normal on Monday morning after a search of each property to ensure no contraband had been dropped off.
“The safety and security of our prisoners and staff is of upmost importance, which was put at risk by this ill-conceived stunt,” Commissioner Martin said.
“Drones are a real threat when used to introduce contraband into our prison system or to aid in the escape of prisoners, which is why the Queensland government introduced legislation earlier this year to make such actions illegal.”
A trial at Woodford Correctional Centre was begun this month to detect drones, intercepting communications through radio waves to identify the drone’s source.
The trial will continue for four weeks to test its use across all Queensland prisons.
Drone laws prohibit the use of drones over restricted areas and over areas where emergency operations are under way, and require drones to only be flown at during the day and within line of sight of the operator.
Greenpeace activists say they have crashed a drone into a French nuclear site, posting footage of the flight on the groups Facebook page.
The group said the stunt was to highlight the lack of security around the facility, adding that “at no time was the drone intercepted or even worried about”. The drone, which was decked out to resemble a tiny Superman, slammed into the tower in Bugey, about 30 kilometres from Lyon, according to the video released Tuesday. The environmental activist group says the drone was harmless but showed the lack of security in nuclear installations in France, which is heavily dependent on atomic power.
“This action has once again demonstrated the extreme vulnerability of French nuclear installations, designed for the most part in the 1970s and unprepared for external attacks,” the post read.
France generates 75 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power in 19 nuclear plants operated by state-controlled EDF. EDF said that two drones had flown over the Bugey site, of which one had been intercepted by French police.
The Queensland Government welcomed the Federal Government decision to back Queensland’s bid to host the Defence Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS). A $50 million centre to develop drone and robotics technology for the Defence Force will be headquartered in Queensland. It will be a national facility that develops technology like drones and robotics for the Army, Navy and Air Force.
EPE Managing Director, Warwick Penrose joined Innovation Minister Kate Jones and State Development Minister Cameron Dick speaking at the Queensland Announcement at QUT welcoming the Federal Government decision to back Queensland’s bid to host the Centre. QUT’s Professor Arun Sharma and the State’s Chief Entrepreneur, Steve Baxter also addressed the media at the announcement.
Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the location of this Centre in Queensland was a vote of confidence in the state’s world-leading innovation and technology capability. “This centre will draw together industry, researchers and local businesses to work with Defence to develop new technologies for drones and other unmanned vehicles,” she said. “This will develop critical mass in key technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and autonomous vehicles and will position Queensland as a global leader in these areas.”
State Development Minister Cameron Dick said the Palaszczuk Government recognised that defence was a critical industry for the state, employing approximately 6,500 workers.
He said an important feature of the proposal would be to develop sites for testing, trials and evaluation of drones. “We will invest in test facilities, including large drone zones in regional Queensland — both aerial and marine —as part of the CRC.’’
Both Ministers recognised the capability that global companies like Boeing, and small companies like EPE and Nova Systems, contribute to Queensland’s leading technology in this area.
EPE Managing Director, Warwick Penrose said his ‘company is a family run business that creates autonomous systems to enable our soldiers to get in, do the job safely and get home again’.
Queensland will contribute a Brisbane-based headquarters for the CRC, world-class testing ranges, support research and technology projects, support industry to develop standards for autonomous systems and the development of platform technologies for unmanned aerial systems.
Information from : Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, The Honourable Cameron Dick / Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games, The Honourable Kate Jones
Drones have been recognised as a very real threat to Australian cities, as the use of the technology by terrorist organisations increases.
Defence contractor EPE manager Keith Mollison, who had 25 years’ experience in the British Army including a stint as deputy director of intelligence, spoke at the annual Safe Cities conference about the threat of drones on Wednesday.
Drones can inadvertently cause significant hazards to public safety,” he said at the Brisbane conference.
“The spectrum of improper and illegal use of drones, even inadvertently, ranges from mischief to mayhem to protest, even acts of terror. They are used for many purposes – for recreation, for journalism or commerce and a lot of legal uses as well. Even drones used for legal purposes have the potential to cause significant disruption.”
ADF has donated Force Protection Electronic Countermeasures equipment that was fitted to Up-Armoured SUV’s (UA SUV) in Afghanistan to the Australian War Memorial (AWM). This will now complete the vehicle which is displayed in the AWM Afghanistan collection. EPE delivered these vehicles integrated with vehicle mounted ECM and vehicle tracking to ADF for deployment in Afghanistan, so was very pleased to be involved in the handover to the AWM.
EPE’s Maintenance Manager Grant Phillips graduates with MBA being awarded for Academic Excellence for his high Grade Point Average.
Grant started his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in January 2015 and completed the final subject in March 2017 (27 months). Studying through Southern Cross University allowed him to complete most course work via correspondence due to frequent work travel commitments , including a deployment to Afghanistan with the Australian Defence Force. Grant’s unique combination of hands on technical experience gained in service with ADF, coupled with management strategies and tools developed through his post graduate university studies, have put him in a strong position to build a highly effective maintenance team delivering cost saving solutions to our customers.
Talon Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robot in the Middle East region. Story and photos courtesy of Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.
After 20 years of service in the Royal Australian Air Force, Warrant Officer (WOFF) Rodney Amos couldn’t help but stay on. Now in his 37th year of service, WOFF Amos is on his 6th Middle East deployment, working at Australia’s main operating base in the region, and aiming to hit 40 years before retiring. Whilst deployed, he is the Base Armaments Manager, Team Leader of the Counter Improvised Explosive Device Response Team and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. He will be deployed over ANZAC Day this year.
The UK Prison Service and police are to pool intelligence to stop drones flying drugs and mobile phones to prison inmates in England and Wales. They will forensically examine captured drones to try to find out who was flying them. The invention of easy-to-fly, remote-controlled aircraft has caused a huge security headache for prisons. But critics have called the plan a “red herring” to distract people from “chaos and crisis” in prisons.
The national initiative will see police and prison officers share information about the quadcopters and methods used.
Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah said: “We are absolutely determined to tackle the illegal flow of drugs and mobile phones into our prisons and turn them into places of safety and reform.
“The threat posed by drones is clear but our dedicated staff are committed to winning the fight against those who are attempting to thwart progress by wreaking havoc in establishments all over the country.
“My message to those who involve themselves in this type of criminal activity is clear: we will find you and put you behind bars.”
The Prison Service could not give details about how many officers would be involved, but reports suggested £3m would be spent on the new task force.
John Podmore, former head of the service’s anti-corruption unit, said whilst there was an issue with contraband in prisons, targeting this money at drones was a “PR stunt”.
“I have seen no evidence that there is a real problem with drones,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “I think the number of incidents last year was 33.
“There are some 10,000 mobile phones found every year in prisons. My question to the Prison Service would be, how many of those were found hanging from drones?”
Instead, Mr Podmore thought the service should be looking the wider issue of contraband smuggling, including the “main route [of] staff corruption”.
Mike Rolfe, national chair of the Prison Officers Association, said prisoners had told him that they had seen two or three drones a night delivering packages over the walls.
However, he said he agreed with Mr Podmore that the initiative was an attempt to distract people from “the real issue [of] jails in complete chaos, in a crisis and flooded with drugs, mobile phones and weapons”.
BBC home affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford says prison walls are now not much of a barrier for those wanting to smuggle contraband into jails.
There have been some recent successes in finding and punishing those who are behind the drone flights, says the Ministry of Justice.
In July, 37-year-old Daniel Kelly was jailed for 14 months for trying to supply contraband to offenders in Elmley and Swaleside Prison in Sheppey, Wandsworth Prison in London and the Mount Prison in Hemel Hempstead.
Much has been written about the threat of Islamic State militants’ use of unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, commonly known as drones, over the embattled city of Mosul.
IS were quick to weaponise UAVs with small improvised explosive devices (IEDs). On 24 January they released a video showing up to 19 different aerial attacks by commercially purchased UAVs – the kind of drone you can buy in any shopping centre in the UK or abroad. Iraqi forces have followed suit by attaching modified 40mm grenades with shuttlecock stabilisers onto their larger UAVs to drop on IS positions. A crude inaccurate way of killing terrorists, its effectiveness is questionable.
Weaponised IS UAVs have mainly been used to target Iraqi military commanders and troops congregating in the open near the front line. It’s a low-end, low-altitude attack that can be thwarted by keeping in hard cover. But both sides use the UAV’s more effectively as a means of providing Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, known as ISR. Islamic State UAVs in the air, once identified, are the warning that something is about to happen – either mortar fire, which is typically one hastily fired inaccurate round – before coalition air superiority can locate and target the firing point. Or, more devastatingly, the launching of a Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device, an SVBIED. Since the Battle for Mosul officially started on 16 October 2016, hundreds of SVBIEDs have been launched.