Russ Smith joined the EPE team in September 2021 as the Through Life Support Manager. Russ Smith is a Project Management and Integrated Logistics Support professional with over 13 years experience within the Corps of Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
During his time in the military he was employed at a range of levels from tactical through to Operational and Strategic, specialising in maintenance management and Logistic Framework establishment in the Land and Joint domains.
Russ has a vast knowledge of the ADF structure, policy, systems and processes. Russ holds a Diploma of Material Logistics, a Bachelor of Arts, as well as a Masters of Project Management
Joe joined EPE in August 2021 as part of the newly formed Project Delivery function. He comes to us with over 9 years Defence experience, gained working for CASG and Defence primes in Procurement and Contracting roles. He holds Project Management (PRINCE2) and Procurement (MCIPS) qualifications and has a wide-ranging experience in engaging with Defence stakeholders and delivering Defence capability spanning across multiple domains.
ARMY has taken a step closer to making the interaction with robots a regular occurrence for soldiers in the field.
Land Capability Division’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office (RICO) has trialled small remotely guided ground robots, known as RGVs, with 1, 2 and 3 Combat Engineer Regiments.
The purpose of the four-week trial was to assess at unit-level the potential of RGVs to enhance situational awareness for Force Elements, particularly in confined spaces, areas contested by unmanned aerial systems, or in GPS-denied environments.
Director RICO Col Robin Smith said Army continues to move forward with disruptive technology.
“The use of small robots is an important step in our goal of harnessing cutting-edge technology in order to be ready to face whatever challenges are heading towards us,” Col Smith said.
The evaluation was conducted throughout November through a “learn by doing” approach, with RGVs being employed in the full range of combat functions and directed tasks, to examine their utility, force protection and efficiency compared to existing surveillance and reconnaissance methods.
CO 3CER Lt-Col Ken Golder said robotics was a very real game-changer for the way Army will do business and fight in the future.
“Robots will have a big influence on how we operate, such as helping to keep soldiers out of harm’s way,” Lt-Col Golder said.
“That’s one of the big advantages we will reap, through greater situational awareness coupled with improved force protection.”
The month-long testing and evaluation trial was held in combination with routine training activities across the full range of combat functions and directed tasks, to examine the RGVs’ capability relating to force protection, and efficiencies compared to existing surveillance and reconnaissance methods.
Testing and evaluation included dense vegetation and dead ground, which inhibits UAS use, along with culverts and tunnels, plus deception, reconnaissance and demonstration tasks.
The evaluation identified potential user case scenarios, and will inform user requirements of future robotic and autonomous systems being considered by Land Programs.
The evaluation also demonstrated potential TTPs using RGVs, and demonstrated potential future operational force structures that will be required, particularly in terms of skills, training and workforce considerations necessary to employ the systems.
Article Written by Sqn-Ldr John Yialeloglou and published in Army News Edition 1503, published on December 09, 2021.
The Defence Minister, the Hon Peter Dutton and the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, the Hon Trevor Evans toured EPE’s Headquarters in Brisbane gaining an understanding of the sovereign capability being delivered to Defence by EPE. EPE also showcased MILTECS, EPE’s new Military Training, Evaluation, Certification and Systems Assurance Proving Grounds.
The facility provides an exemplar of a successful public, private and research partnership utilising a combination of Defence SICP funding and private funding from EPE, while optimising and expanding the existing CSIRO / DATA 61 facilities at the Queensland Centre for Advance Technologies (QCAT), Pullenvale, Brisbane. EPE’s strategic Research partner CSIRO’s DATA 61, also updated the Ministers regarding their team’s recent success in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Subterranean Challenge for robots.
The Managing Director of EPE, Warwick Penrose speaking about the new MILTECS facility and the planned second phase, said “The ADF is preparing for high-intensity conflict and grey- zone operations against peer adversaries who are not constrained in their use of CBRN agents & ethical use of Unmanned Systems, Machine Learning and AI. To counter these increasingly lethal capabilities, EPE is contributing to the further development of sovereign capability to integrate and test a range of leading-edge technologies.
An Australian-first facility to provide standardised testing of robotics is now open for business in Queensland. The purpose-built centre is part of a research and development partnership between defence solutions provider EPE and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, based at CSIRO’s site in Pullenvale, outside Brisbane.
The MILTECS (Military Test, Evaluation, Certification and Systems Assurance) facility was developed in response to industry calls for a proving ground for field robotics and will carry out standardised testing across industries including defence, law enforcement, agriculture, manufacturing and mining to help drive Australia’s sovereign industrial capability.
The project is funded by EPE and the Defence Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority (SICP) Program, with partnership support from CSIRO.
EPE Managing Director Warwick Penrose said the collaborative partnership will enable advanced R&D into human-robot teaming in dynamic unstructured environments and provide the essential validation to ensure the capabilities provided to Defence today also meet future threats.
“The facility is a genuine example of how a joint investment by Government and industry combined with collaborative partnership with the research sector delivers critical Defence capability outcomes,” Mr Penrose said.
The facility incorporates two proving grounds: a robotics terrain park outfitted with vehicles, stairs, pipes, inclines and unstructured terrains (grass, gravel, rocks, trees, etc) and a NIST (U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology) certified obstacle course; and Counter IED Detection and training lanes for mounted and dismounted search.
The MILTECS facility also extends over two other sites with a Threat Mitigation Proving Ground at Helidon in the Lockyer Valley and Test Labs at EPE’s Brisbane facility.
The entire facility includes:
Proving Ground 1 Unmanned Systems (Terrain Park, NIST Test) at CSIRO Pullenvale
Proving Ground 2 CIED Detection & Training Lanes (Mounted / Dismounted Search) at CSIRO Pullenvale
Proving Ground 3 Threat Mitigation at Helidon
Test Lab 1 Unmanned Systems and Sensor Integration Lab at EPE HQ Spring Hill
Test Lab 2 CBRNe and CIED Sensors Assurance Lab at EPE HQ Spring Hill
Test Lab 3 CBRNe and CIED Sensor Library Development Lab at EPE HQ Spring Hill
The collaboration between EPE and CSIRO will leverage knowledge and experience gained by EPE from international best practice through NIST test methods, and CSIRO’s world-leading robotics, navigation and surveying capabilities.
Group leader in CSIRO’s Data61, the agency’s data and digital arm, Dr Navinda Kottege welcomed the opening of the new facility.
“This new testing centre and partnership will help facilitate new capabilities and products that will advance local industry and strengthen Australia’s international standing in this domain,” Dr Kottege said.
CSIRO’s Pullenvale site is also home to the Robotics Innovation Centre (RIC) and CSIRO’s robotics and autonomous expertise at the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies (QCAT).
The robotic technologies being developed onsite could assist CSIRO in designing and creating technologies for CSIRO’s Labs of the Future initiative to establish digitised laboratories, flexible workspaces, a smaller more sustainable footprint, cutting‑edge smart infrastructure shared with partners, and an efficient carbon footprint.
Australian companies Minelab and EPE announce an Exclusive Teaming Agreement in support of specific Defence Land Projects.
Minelab, a member of the Codan group of companies based in Adelaide’s high-tech precinct known as Technology Park, is a world leader in metal detection technologies and supplies countermine detectors to humanitarian demining NGOs, commercial demining companies and militaries throughout the world. Through innovation and continuous improvement, Minelab is developing the next generation of hand-held metal detection technologies and products.
The clear synergies between Minelab and EPE are evident. EPE is an Australian veteran owned company, unrivalled in delivering Counter-IED and Counter Explosive Hazards (CEH) capabilities to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). EPE was awarded the 2019 New Zealand Minister of Defence Awards for Excellence to Industry for delivery of the Counter Explosive Hazards (CEH) Project.
CEH capabilities delivered by EPE to search for, detect and neutralise explosive hazards are fully supported by specialist training and through life support, delivering 100% Sovereign Industry Capability and specialist Australian Defence jobs.
In 2016 the Australian Department of Defence awarded Minelab a $6.7 million contract to develop a dual sensor detector with enhanced capabilities to aid in the detection of metal and non-metal explosive devices. As a result, the MDS-10 dual sensor detector was designed combining unique Metal Detection and Ground Penetrating Radar technologies. Minelab was awarded the World Electronics Forum (WEF) “New Product Design” Award for the MDS-10 Dual Sensor.
International evaluations of the MDS-10 highlight its enhanced detection capabilities; ergonomic, compact and lightweight mechanical platform and ease of use.
Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price has announced the award of a Sovereign Industrial Capability (SICP) Grant to Australian veteran-owned company, EPE.
The aim of the grant is to assist Defence industry to enhance Defence capability within Australia.
The EPE project is the development of a world leading specialised unmanned systems proving ground, training area, and supporting CBRNe Sensor Test and Assurance Laboratory designed specifically for Australian requirements. The SICP funding will assist EPE to design and implement a specialised Military Test, Evaluation, Certification, and Systems Assurance (MILTECS) facility across two sites in Brisbane and a third site near Toowoomba. The facilities will include building three large-scale Proving Centres (PC’s) and three supporting Test Laboratories (Test Labs). The new capabilities will allow EPE and Industry partners to deliver substantially enhanced Defence capability outcomes.
EPE Managing Director, Warwick Penrose said ‘This Project provides an example of how an investment by Government to augment private sector investment jointly delivers critical Defence capability outcomes as well as highly skilled Australian Defence jobs.’
The project outcome will be the provision of the sovereign MILTECS facility that is designed and developed for Australian requirements, and will incorporate the design, construction and management of:
Enhance EPE’s Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) compliance levels
CIED Detection and Mounted and Dismounted Training Lanes Proving Centre (PC)
Unmanned Systems Proving Centre (PC)
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Tools Proving Centre (PC)
CBRNe Sensor Test Laboratory (Test Lab)
Unmanned Systems Platform Integration and Testing (Test Lab)
CBRNe Sensor Library Development (Test Lab)
Penrose added ‘What Defence needs from its Defence Industry Partners is changing. We need to be more adaptive, innovative and self-reliant. We need to generate tangible capabilities more quickly to ensure Defence maintains its competitive advantages in a rapidly changing Indo-Pacific security environment. EPE’s clear eyed approach to meeting these needs, is to invest in our MILTECs Proving Centres and Test Labs on green field sites to expand Australia’s overall capacity to innovate, test, prove and validate response robotics, Counter-IED and CBRN capabilities. Our Response Robotics NIST Test Apparatus within the Unmanned Systems Proving Centre and the EOD Tools Weapon’s Proving Centre are some of the first in Australia.’
‘Our investment in MILTECs is mirrored by our growing relationships with our Research partners such as QUT and DSTG. Our future focus is to ensure the capabilities we provide today are future proofed to emerging threats. Our plans have been years in their development, and we’re very thankful for the support of the Australian Defence Force to enable EPE to develop this type of capacity in a measured and assured way.’
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Australian companies are continuing to strengthen their defence manufacturing capability with support and financial assistance from the Morrison Government.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price today announced more than $8 million in support to 11 Australian businesses through the latest round of Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority (SICP) grants.
“These grant recipients are making crucial investments to improve their manufacturing capabilities, which is supporting Australia’s sovereign industrial base,” Minister Price said.
“Their dedication and foresight is enabling the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to maintain its leading edge.
“We’re helping local businesses to build resilient critical supply chains in an increasingly uncertain strategic environment.”
The grants are expected to improve domestic manufacturing capabilities, which helps build Australia’s sovereign industrial capacity to support the ADF.
Minister Price said she wanted to see more Australian small businesses thrive.
“The SICP grants not only enable businesses to improve their competitiveness, but develop new and valuable capabilities,” Minister Price said.
“This opens up new opportunities for local businesses to become involved in our commitment to develop a strong, sustainable and secure defence industry.
Since the grants program’s inception in November 2018, 99 grants have been awarded to Australian small and medium businesses, with a combined value of $55.6 million.
The Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Grants announced today:
Grant Funding Purpose
Development of a world leading specialised unmanned systems proving ground, training area, and supporting Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield explosives (CBRNe) Sensor Test and Assurance Laboratory specifically for Australian requirements.
Diamond Defence Pty Ltd
Expansion of fibre-optic manufacturing capability at its Melbourne facility. Will enable locally manufactured, high performance military-spec fibre optic assemblies and harnesses which are not currently available in Australia.
Support to acquire and install new specialist equipment.
Novafast International Pty Ltd
Support the acquisition and installation of new robotics equipment for new manufacturing technologies in composite products.
Varley Rafael Australia
Expansion of current Guided Weapons capabilities by setting up and commissioning a SPIKE Launcher assembly line, by upgrading facilities and associated security measures.
HTA Group Pty Ltd
Support the acquisition and installation of specialist equipment for defence and aerospace compliant vacuum hardening processes in Victoria and New South Wales.
Australian Precision Technologies Pty Ltd
Expansion and update of specialist equipment and current facilities for precision machining and milling.
Able Industries Engineering Pty Ltd
Purchase, construct, install and commission new capital equipment, implement workforce training, skills development and quality accreditation.
Able Industries Engineering Pty Ltd
Completed required building modifications to enhance the company’s ability to manufacture key components.
Abstec Calibrations Australia Pty Ltd
Extension of existing laboratory area to meet increased demand from defence industry and to improve their National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) scope of accreditation
GW Kewder Engineering Pty Ltd
Investment in specialist machining tools to continue to support the manufacture of precision components.
EPE was truly honoured to meet with Graham Ellis, the Queensland Representative for the SOER Association to give a donation to the not for profit organisation. The SOER Association is a Veterans Support Organisation that aims to promote the general welfare and prosperity of Special Operations Engineer Regiment veterans and their families and to assist in increasing quality of life through providing advocacy, well-being initiatives and welfare support services. The Association assists families of the Regiment’s soldiers who have given their lives or returned with injuries. Building awareness of Veteran suicide and homelessness is also a priority for the Association.
EPE was pleased to make a donation of $14 000 to the SOER Association from the EPE Annual Fundraising Event which was held in Brisbane during the week of Land Forces 2021. We thank and acknowledge our donors from the evening who donated cash and auction items: Adagold Aviation Pty Ltd, Andrew & Skye McKay, Craig & Kara Chudleigh, The Penrose Family, PWR Advanced Cooling Technology, Brisbane Broncos, University of Southern Queensland, Norwell Motorplex and Rheinmetall.
Defence Connect editor Liam Garman met Scott Corrigan, director capability at EPE, at Land Forces early last month.
Liam Garman: Thanks for joining me Scott, I know you’ve got a busy schedule at Land Forces this year! For our readers who are unfamiliar with the company, what is EPE and what services does it offer?
Scott Corrigan: Thanks Liam. We’re proud to be a 100 per cent Australian and veteran operated SME. We provide protective systems to the Australian military, law enforcement and the first responder community and have spent over 20 years protecting the individual and taking them as far out of harm’s way as we can – looking after soldiers, sailors, airmen and police officers.
Over 75 per cent of our employees are either military or police veterans. Those that aren’t have strong affiliations to the military or police through family, or a strong commitment to protecting the lives of service personnel, which is really lovely to be a part of.
Liam: How is EPE contributing to Australia’s sovereign defence industry?
Scott: We contribute to Australia’s sovereign defence industry through several initiatives. We’ve just opened a company called EPE Innovation, which we are proud to be announcing soon.
We’ve also recently entered a partnership with a trusted government scientific entity to jointly produce a world-class advanced CBRN technology. This will be our first foray into the manufacturing industry, and we intend to expand from there. The entire protective capability from the IP development, to the proof-of-type prototyping and the manufacturing will be done in Australia to create a truly sovereign capability which will not only protect military personnel but first responders as well. The capability provides a tenfold improvement on performance to protect operators from CBRN threats.
We also recently worked with CSIRO and Data 61 at their facility in south-east Queensland to develop a military test and evaluation procedure for robotics and unmanned vehicles. There is no global standard for testing and protocols that are associated with unmanned ground vehicles and unmanned air vehicles, so we’re going to establish what is effectively the first Australian testing procedure. As a result, we’re incorporating a US standard and we’re going to run all of our capabilities through that on behalf of the Australian government. This way we can provide a greater level of surety when we test systems in a live setting under environmental threat conditions to make sure that they are reliable. Improving Australian operating standards is also critical for the defence industry as we can no longer rely on sending equipment overseas for repair and therefore need to be able to certify all levels of repair conducted in Australia. COVID has proven that enabling the entire supply chain to be managed within Australia is critically important, and EPE has taken this opportunity to enhance a commitment that it has successfully implemented over the last 10 years.
Liam: With the continued development of test and evaluation procedures for robotics, it seems like EPE has stepped away from its pedigree in the bomb disposal industry?
Scott: The threats that Australian military members have encountered for several decades have a bad habit of going back to rudimentary principles. Our enemies will always revert to using devices such as IEDs, so many of the challenges that we’ve overcome and capabilities we’ve developed over several decades will remain critical. Thus, EPE will still have that remit for counter-IED and counter-CBRN capabilities. A current example is our project for the development of a common controller to allow an operator to manage multiple unmanned systems from a single controller. The outcome of this will be to maximise soldier performance while reducing the system, training and cognitive burden during the difficult counter-threat tasks.
But on the other side of the coin, the battlefield is always evolving! Whilst EPE started around the time of the Olympics. with the provision of bombsuits, unmanned ground vehicles, disruptors for threat device neutralisation and electronic countermeasures, we have continued to develop and have really expanded from there. Whether it’s protective equipment against IEDs or AI for unmanned drones to map out the battlefield – our primary goal remains the ongoing protection and safety of the operator.
Liam: What’s next on EPE’s agenda, you’ve mentioned that the company is looking to expand into AI?
Scott: EPE is increasingly focused on the artificial intelligence space for unmanned vehicles, and as we continue to develop our collaboration arrangements with Defence Innovation, CSIRO, DST STaR Shots Program and Queensland Defence Science Alliance we continue to strengthen in this area. Our goal is to keep the unmanned vehicles safe and controllable which will serve to remove the human as far as possible from the threat space. Therefore, our primary goal is to improve the ability for these vehicles to operate in a GPS and communication denied environment while still conducting their task on behalf of those operators ensuring that the human is out of harm’s way. We’ve got prototypes of vehicles which provide 3D mapping, as well as all of the functionality that makes up artificial intelligence including an ability to respond in its own right, learn from its activities and learn from its mistakes.
Liam: Will these artificial intelligence mechanisms include target indication?
Scott: Absolutely. There’s a couple of layers there. So the vehicles include a few capabilities that have been around for a while like electronic countermeasures. We then layer that with additional sensor systems, and then layer that with artificial intelligence. These layers allow the vehicle to learn, see and respond. EPE hopes that these technologies will help get the soldier out of harm’s way.
These unmanned vehicles will be able to enter dangerous areas such as subterranean tunnels and multi-story buildings to map them – even in GPS and communications denied environments. Due to inbuilt continual machine learning functionality, the system will not only identify issues, targets, challenges and routes but also enhance its understanding of the risk landscape while in the threat environment. The unmanned system will then come back and once it’s re-established communications or GPS links, will reverse map all that data and pass that through the battle command system to the operator. So, ideally the mission planners are pre-informed of key threats and challenges before they get anywhere near the danger, which is really important. For EPE it always comes back to protecting the operator.
Liam: So, your products are veteran tried, tested and get their tick of approval?
Scott: Absolutely. You know, there’s two aspects to that. Firstly, many in our workforce have used our equipment operationally. Even the newer iterations of the equipment have been used by EPE employees who only left the forces in the last year or two. Secondly, we get their tick of approval from a concept of operations perspective. We fully understand the capability requirements and use cases, and definitely consider ourselves to be professionals in the capabilities that we provide to the frontline practitioners.
Liam: Seems like you have an amazing future and all the best as EPE continues to grow.
EPE was truly honoured to attend the 42 for 42 Afghanistan War Memorial Garden Working Bee on Saturday. The Memorial, tucked away in a peaceful secluded garden in the heart of Brisbane bordered by Suncorp Stadium in Milton is truly a beautiful tribute to the 41 Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, the soldiers who have died since returning home and to all who served in Operation Slipper including the working dogs killed on operation. The Garden is not only a lasting Memorial but also provides an enduring historical education about the War in Afghanistan. The Garden has been conceptualised, designed and built by the 42 for 42 volunteer Board, Committee and team of hard working volunteers.
EPE was pleased to make a contribution to 42 for 42 from the EPE Annual Fundraising Event which was held in Brisbane during the week of Land Forces 2021. We thank and acknowledge our donors from the Evening who donated cash and auction items: Adagold Aviation Pty Ltd, Andrew & Skye McKay, Craig & Kara Chudleigh, the Penrose family, PWR Advanced Cooling Technology, Brisbane Broncos, University of Southern Queensland, Norwell Motorplex and Rheinmetall. 42 for 42 is a non-profit organisation founded by Afghanistan combat veterans. The team at 42 for 42 are dedicated to supporting the families of fallen Afghanistan veterans as well as those who have returned from active duty in Afghanistan, and their families.
The Afghanistan War Memorial Garden will be officially opened on Saturday 24th of July, starting at 1:30 pm, and live-streamed from the Memorial Garden and televised on the big screens inside Suncorp Stadium, so friends, family and members of the wider community can join for this momentous occasion. You can book free tickets for your seat inside Suncorp Stadium for the Ceremony here: https://bit.ly/42for42MemorialLaunch.
After the conclusion of the official ceremony, guests can join the 42 for 42 Team for drinks and nibbles at the Garden Bar at Suncorp Stadium. Tickets are $42 with strictly limited numbers for this part of the event – book here: https://bit.ly/42for42MemorialReception.
Where once soldiers on foot cleared roads of mines by slow and careful scanning with mine detectors, Defence is now assessing new technologies which will see that risky mission handed over to the robots.
That robot will be in the form of an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) equipped with a ground penetrating radar (GPR), day and night cameras, and an onboard quadcopter drone, able to go out on its own to survey the roads for buried mines or improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
During Australia’s long engagement in southern Afghanistan, route clearance for vehicle convoys carrying troops or supplies remained a constant challenge, with vehicles regularly blown up. Of Australia’s 41 dead in Afghanistan, 12 died from the blast of landmines and IEDs, among them engineers killed in the process of clearing IEDs.
Under a $3.7 million contract awarded through the Defence Innovation Hub under Joint Project JP 154 Phase 4, Downer Defence Systems is prime system integrator on the Muskito project to develop a UGV based on the US-made HDT Hunter Wolf, a six-wheeled vehicle developed for the US military.
In partnership with Downer are three Queensland companies – EPE which is providing the platform and Cobham GPR, Insitu Pacific which is providing the unmanned aerial system (UAS) and common controller, and Urban Circus which is developing the common operating picture technology.
Muskito has been undergoing trials at a site at Pullenvale, Queensland, also used by the CSIRO for testing its autonomous mining technology. EPE has invested in development of this site for testing of its autonomous systems.
A major demonstration of the Muskito is planned for August. “Muskito itself is an integrated counter IED concept. It uses aerial and ground-based autonomous systems and machine learning to detect threats above and below the ground,” Anthony Davis, Downer’s Muskito project lead, told ADBR in an exclusive interview in the lead-up to LAND FORCES 2021.
“We have an unmanned ground vehicle and unmanned aerial vehicle with a suite of sensors,” he added. “The information drawn from the sensors is displayed on a visual interface to support the commander’s decision making.”
That visual interface will be a tablet or Toughbook displaying feeds from the GPR, Muskito’s onboard camera and, if operating, the UAS, which can detect items of immediate concern such as command wires or suspicious individuals.
Significantly, Muskito will incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence. That means it will be able to identify suspect objects detected by the GPR without requiring constant eyes on by the operator.
Though initially intended for semi-autonomous operation under guidance of an operator, Muskito will eventually be capable of going out on its own to scan and map a particular route, detecting any IEDs. But it’s not intended that Muskito will have any ability to deal with IEDs – that will be up to other technology.
EPE project manager David Rye said procedures for route clearance had not changed since World War 2 – soldiers on foot with mine-detectors. And while detection technology has greatly improved, so too have the abilities of insurgent bomb makers.
In Afghanistan, Australia acquired a pair of Huskys from Canada – large armoured GPR-equipped vehicles to detect implanted IEDs, along with a Buffalo vehicle equipped with a long arm and oversized garden fork-like device to dig up IEDs.
These vehicles were state-of-the-art but were large, heavy, and slow. But as with proposed new naval mine clearance technology, Defence aims to keep its specialist personnel well away from explosive items by handing the task to robotic systems.
“The Muskito is a potential game changer as will change how we actually clear and prove routes,” Rye told ADBR. “Not only are you taking the people out of the picture because you are using mechanical and autonomous means, these systems may be used to constantly prove routes.”
Australian veteran owned company EPE and Peraton Remotec announce a partnership to enhance the capability of unmanned ground vehicles in Australia and New Zealand.
For more than three decades, military, law enforcement, and other first responders worldwide have relied on Peraton Remotec robots to help assure a safe, successful outcome for their most challenging missions. Peraton Remotec offers one of the widest range of Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) and accessories in the market, with a worldwide installed base of over 2,300 unmanned vehicles.
EPE has a solid record of delivering specialised unmanned vehicles, providing world class equipment training, integrated logistic support for the life of the vehicles, and integration of sensors to boost protection of soldiers, optimising sovereign capability in Australia. EPE has delivered and sustains a fleet of more than 180 specialist robots to support both CIED and C-CBRNe operations in Australia and New Zealand. EPE’s partnerships with our robotics vendors enables them to provide the best solutions for specific military and police requirements focusing on common platforms, interoperability, modular payloads and having the engineering capacity to ensure these platforms remain at the cutting edge.
EPE Managing Director, Warwick Penrose commented ‘Both EPE and Peraton Remotec have proven records of innovating to protect our warfighters, and we’re eager to optimise the clear synergies. EPE is uniquely positioned to provide expert advice reinforced by proactive and agile support here in Australia. Our expert team has extensive real-world Counter IED experience gained in operational roles with military and police agencies across the Five Eyes countries. The EPE Through Life Support (TLS) team is trained and accredited by Peraton Remotec enabling equipment training, software and firmware upgrades, repairs and fourth line support to be provided domestically in Australia and New Zealand’.
Peraton Remotec Managing Director, Walt Werner said ‘EPE adds significant value to our ability to ensure that EOD teams throughout the region are able to keep “Danger at a Distance” with the latest innovations to address the threats of today and tomorrow”.
Last week at ARX21 (Army Robotics Expo 21) held in Brisbane, EPE’s Booth featured the Andros FX™. With a combination of advanced mobility and high dexterity coupled in one vehicle, the Andros FX™ provides unmatched capabilities to defeat vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in addition to many other threats. The most visible features of the robot are the four track pods and the arm designed for massive lift capacity and greater dexterity by adding roll joints that provide nine degrees of freedom.
The Assistant Defence Minister, the Hon. Andrew Hastie and the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, the Hon. Trevor Evans visited EPE at our Brisbane Headquarters. We appreciate the Ministers’ interest in EPE’s delivery of critical Defence capability outcomes as well as supporting Defence industry growth and creating highly skilled Australian jobs.
Australian veteran-owned company, EPE displayed and demonstrated Australian Sovereign Industry capability at the ARX21 (Army Robotics Exposition) in Brisbane on Tuesday.
In addition to investing funds over the last decade in R&D to build specialist capabilities to counter explosive hazards, EPE has more recently received funding from the Defence Innovation Hub to help design solutions to counter threats faced by Australian soldiers. Some of these capabilities were on display at ARX21 including Portable Stand-Off Detection prototype, to improve safety for Navy boarding parties by identifying chemical and explosive threats prior to boarding. Also on display was a Ground Penetrating Radar capability, which can be deployed remotely using an Unmanned Ground Vehicle for route clearance. EPE has partnered with Downer and other Australian SMEs to further develop this and deliver an unmanned Counter Improvised Explosive Device (CIED) route clearance capability integrated into a Hunter WOLF (Wheeled Offload Logistics Follower). This enables Defence personnel to remotely detect threats above and below the ground’s surface; detect, discriminate and locate subsurface IEDs and flag them via a visual interface.
Also demonstrated was the Australian designed and manufactured Callisto Multirotor heavy-lift RPAS carrying and delivering a 15kg robot, an unique and impressive display inside a Convention Centre.
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.’
To help keep the wheels of defence industry turning, we promised to fast-track invoice payments to Department of Defence suppliers. We’re delivering on that. Since 23 March, the Australian government has paid 78,000 invoices to a value of $4.8 billion. Of this, $3.3 billion has been paid early – and we know these early payments are flowing to Australian small businesses. We have made great progress to limit the effects of COVID-19 on small business in our defence industry. But we need to continue our support in backing small business so that they can continue to supply essential capability for our Defence Force. The Morrison government’s investment of over $200 billion in our defence capabilities is creating and supporting thousands of local Aussie jobs and has opened new and exciting opportunities for small business. Helping small businesses through this period and beyond is my top priority. That is why our government is continuing to inject much-needed cash in local Aussie businesses in our defence industry. We need small businesses to succeed in Australia so that they can continue to deliver the capability our men and women in uniform rely on each and every day.
Businesses like Brisbane-based EPE. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of announcing that EPE had secured a $10 million contract with Leidos. They’re a small business that specialises in technologies to protect our soldiers from emerging threats, such as the risk of chemical and biological attacks. EPE will help Leidos deliver critical Defence capabilities in the area of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence. In July last year, I visited EPE with my colleague, the federal member for Brisbane, Trevor Evans, to announce their $300,000 Defence Innovation Hub contract. To see their continued success since, including their partnership with Leidos, speaks to the quality of small Australian businesses that are contributing to essential Defence capability to keep Australians safe. Maximising opportunities for small businesses to compete as part of the Australian Industry Capability (AIC) Program will mean more Australian businesses, like EPE, can contribute to the delivery of defence capability and drive economic growth. The AIC Program requires tenderers to demonstrate that they have considered Australian industry as part of their tender response. Last year, the Morrison government released the Defence Policy for Industry Participation. This policy extended the AIC Program to all Defence materiel and non-materiel procurements above $4 million, as well as construction projects above $7.5 million. Previously, AIC requirements only applied to material procurements valued above $20 million.
This significant change is an example of how the government is backing Australian industry, especially small businesses. In times like these, we can be tempted to focus solely on business continuity, rather than pursuing innovation. But now more than ever, I want to commend innovative small businesses that are delivering and supporting enhanced ADF capability. For example, Darwin-based SPEE3D are piloting cutting-edge 3D printing technology in the Northern Territory. This local business is working with the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Navy to allow high-quality metal parts to be printed on demand in the field or at sea. This will significantly increase the ADF’s ability to access what it needs and when it needs it. Many Australian small businesses have smart solutions and innovative ideas that could contribute to our Defence capabilities. Opportunities exist for a broad range of small businesses – not just those who have traditionally thought of themselves as a defence industry business. Sea-to-Summit is a local WA business with one of the largest diversified suppliers of technical field equipment in the world. They have signed a standing offer deed to provide $30 million worth of field equipment to the Australian Army. This will include shelters, sleeping bags, hand tools, and personal protective equipment to support ADF personnel both in Australia and overseas. Under this deed, Sea-to-Summit is ensuring the ADF maintains a leading-edge in field equipment, making our personnel safer and more effective.
This is another example of how a small business, which would have typically sat outside the definition of ‘defence industry’, can and is having a marked impact on Defence capability. I also recently announced 11 Australian businesses had received a total of nearly $5 million as part of our Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities grants program to help them grow our nation’s defence capability. Some of these included Queensland-based Frontline Manufacturing, which received $710,000 to continue its work on armoured fighting vehicles. Victoria-based Infinite Engineering received $1 million to increase the scale of manufacturing capacity and capability. And South Australia-based Simbiant received $278,475 to design and commission a software defined radar advanced signal processing facility.
Our government has pressed ahead with this much-needed injection of funds in small business because we recognise their fundamental importance to developing essential capability for the ADF. Our record $200 billion spend in Defence Force capability is not just buying us widgets, vehicles, ships and planes, it’s building up a sovereign capability in our small business community. Agility and capacity for innovation – hallmark qualities of Australian small businesses – are the attributes empowering business to successfully withstand the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19. I know, through my regular engagement with industry, that the vast majority of defence industry businesses are feeling supported by our government at this time. This was reflected in the recent Defence Connect COVID-19 Business Survey, which reported 79 per cent of business owners and 83 per cent of employees in the defence supply chain were satisfied with the government’s response to the crisis. We’re working harder than ever to ensure businesses have what they need to succeed. But I can have confidence in our defence industry because I’ve seen what they can do. Small businesses always have – and always will – play a vital role in building defence capability here in Australia. There are great opportunities on the road ahead. And I’m looking forward to helping them to get there.
Melissa Price is the federal member for Durack and Minister for Defence Industry.
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