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Transfer of specialist expertise from global supply chain to perform comprehensive diagnostics, maintenance, depot level repair and software upgrades to vital defence equipment in Australia

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With international travel restrictions behind us, our team of Through Life Support technicians is back travelling overseas to continue their ongoing training.  Training provided and accredited by our global network of OEMs at their facilities in the US, UK, Canada and Europe has enabled our technicians to become leading experts in their fields within the Australian and New Zealand Defence industries. This transfer of specialist expertise to perform comprehensive diagnostics, maintenance, depot level repair and software upgrades in Australia has enabled us to sustain equipment for the entire equipment life cycle. Optimising the performance and life cycle of vital specialist equipment including robots, X-ray, CBRN detectors and electronic counter measures (ECM) ensures our military and police operators have equipment they can rely on in demanding operations. Recent transfer of skills has included: QinetiQ North America TALON and SPUR EOD robots Redwave chemical, explosive, narcotic and gas detectors XplorIR, ThreatID and ProtectIR.

Thanks to Australian Defence Force and Australian Government‘s Skilling Australia’s Defence Industry (SADI) Program that supports the transfer of skills into the Australian defence sector to continue developing this sovereign capability to meet current and future Defence needs.

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Improving sovereign capability to maintain, repair and upgrade complex unmanned systems

EPE recently had the privilege of hosting Travis Rideout, Principal Engineer at HDT Global based in the US, and the brains behind the Hunter WOLF UGV. Travis spent the week transferring his expertise to some of EPE’s team of Robotics Technicians and Mechatronics Engineers to assist EPE in improving the sovereign capability to maintain, repair and upgrade complex unmanned systems here in Australia.

The Hunter WOLF is in use in the USA, Australia and in numerous allied forces to support and augment dismounted soldiers. Here in Australia, Australian Defence Force has used this capability as part of the Dismounted Combat Program’s experimentation with uncrewed systems. The Hunter WOLF acts as an exemplar dismounted support vehicle providing logistical support, power, autonomous and Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) control, utilizing numerous mission payloads to enable soldiers in the field. The experience gained through this experimentation is helping the ADF to understand how it can best utilise unmanned systems in a range of operational scenarios.

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EPE Handheld Standoff Raman Detector Demonstration features in AUSDEF Bulletin

 


EPE recently showcased this capability to Defence through a scenario-based demonstration highlighting the handheld capability of the detector and the increased stand-off ranges achieved through integration onto uncrewed platforms.

The increased use of robotics and autonomous capabilities will fundamentally change the way the Army fights, and this project achieves a number of the Army’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Strategy goals : increasing situational awareness, reducing the soldier’s physical and cognitive workloads, facilitating movement and manoeuvre, increasing reach and range, and force protection, ultimately replacing soldiers in some of the most dangerous tasks.

 

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EPE announces the appointment of Adam Modd as Senior Solutions Architect

Adam served in the Armed Forces over a total period of 32 years retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.  He started with an extensive EOD career with the British Army, subsequently in 2007 he was requested to be part of a project to develop Domestic, Expeditionary, and Special Forces CBRNe, IEDD and EOD capabilities for the New Zealand Defence Force.

Adam Commanded E Squadron 1st New Zealand SAS Regt for over five years, during his 13 year career in the Defence Force he represented New Zealand on FVEY and NATO steering groups, technical working groups and International forums. Adam also deployed overseas supporting Interpol and on Special Forces operations to Afghanistan. Adam took a two year sabbatical in 2009 / 2010 to work in support of the United States Government on Special Forces programs.

In March 2020 Adam was seconded from the Defence Force to the New Zealand Ministry of Health to assist with the outbreak of COVID, during this time he deployed to the Pacific as the Mission Lead for the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team. This situation saw Adam retiring from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel, and consequently taking up the role as Director Emergency Management, Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand charged with maintaining the capability and capacity to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to and recover from natural, and unnatural threats and crises.

During the span of his military career, Adam undertook a range of roles including Leadership, Command, Operational, Scientific Research & Development, Capability Development, and Capability Delivery roles. Adam has experience on a wide range of operational deploymemts that include:  Humanitarian Aid & Disater Relief (HADR), De-mining, Biological Chemical Radiological Nuclear (BCMD), Trans-National Crime, Counter-Terrorism, Counter-Proliferation, and Intelligence.

Adam has served in many areas of conflict, danger and unrest, he has deployed on complex multi-national, multi-agency operations all over the world, as part of Special Forces, United Nations, OPCW, Interpol. FBI, FVEY & NATO Militaries and Military Intelligence roles. Adam’s operational tour experiences include: several multiple tours of Northern Ireland, multiple tours of Iraq, Hong Kong, Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Columbia, Nepal, Cambodia, and numerous tours of Afghanistan.

Honours and Awards – Adam was awarded the George Medal (GM) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 for his gallantry Bomb Disposal operations, and most recently he was recognised with the award of the Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD) on the 2021 Queens Birthday Honours. Adam was also recognised for his counter terrorist work globally with a U.S. Bronze Star, U.S. Army Commendation Medal (ACOM) and three FBI Commendations.

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Defence Innovation Hub Project delivered to provide a prototype of stand-off chemical and explosive detection.

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Photo 1 from left to right: Rob Edye and Robbie Wild from EPE
Photo 2 : EPE team with Defence Innovation Hub and Army and AFP representatives


With Defence focused on human-machine teaming to remove soldiers and operators from immediate threats, EPE was awarded a Phase 3 Defence Innovation Hub (DIH) Contract to advance the stand-off chemical and explosive detection capability for a maritime boarding party application delivered in the previous phase. The challenge for Phase 3 was to miniaturise the hand-held stand-off Raman (HSR) detection unit and integrate onto uncrewed platforms to increase stand-off to further remove the operator from the threat.

EPE recently showcased this capability to Defence through a scenario-based demonstration highlighting the handheld capability of the detector and the increased stand-off ranges achieved through integration onto uncrewed platforms. Through this, EPE’s team of engineers were able to perform positive identification of threats up to 100m away from operators. In addition, the demonstration highlighted the results that were achieved and verified through independent testing of the detector by Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG). This illustrated the range of threats contained within the HSR library and the distances at which the detector was achieving positive identifications.

EPE’s Innovation Manager, Robbie Wild said, “the miniaturisation of this capability, and the development of a modularised approach to integrating it onto uncrewed systems opens up a variety of possibilities for the deployment and operation of other sensors, which can all successfully contribute to removing humans from threat environments, which is our underlying goal”.

One Army participant at the demonstration commented “The potential from this project is only limited by our creativity”. EPE’s plans for the future of this Project include, increasing stand-off range and trace detection capabilities of the system; looking at using the technology within specific mission sets; and progressing autonomous delivery solutions. This reinforces the importance of Defence’s DIH and the integral role it is playing in the development of innovative Australian sovereign capability.

The increased use of robotics and autonomous capabilities will fundamentally change the way the Army fights, and this project achieves a number of the Army’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Strategy goals : increasing situational awareness, reducing the soldier’s physical and cognitive workloads, facilitating movement and manoeuvre, increasing reach and range, and force protection, ultimately replacing soldiers in some of the most dangerous tasks.

Feature photos : EPE Trusted to Protect

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Warwick Penrose, EPE Trusted to Protect as Finalist for Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year 2022

Warwick Penrose

Specialising in chemical bomb disposal during his time in the ADF, Warwick continued to utilise his unique skills in the civilian workforce.

When the company he worked for came up for sale, Warwick made the bold decision to acquire it, using his business acumen to pave the way for consistent growth of EPE. Since then he has grown EPE from 2 to 45 staff, now delivering and supporting protective capability worldwide.

EPE specialise in the provision of complete protective capability solutions for counter improvised explosive devices, explosive ordinance disposal, and electronic counter measure amongst others. They provide support to the Defence Forces and all Police jurisdictions in both Australia and New Zealand, and other government agencies including Attorney-General’s, Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs and Trade.

He credits his core entrepreneurial skills to his defence service, including the importance of being adaptable.

Through his organisation, he has been able to employ veterans from a wide variety of ranks, and believes that his veteran employees bring to the company exceptional leadership skills, work ethic, culture and ethos, giving back to the veteran community where they can.

EPE was also recognised as a finalist for Veteran Employer of the Year – Medium category of the 2020 Prime Minister’s National Veterans’ Employment Awards.

Acknowledgement Department of Veterans’ Affairs media announcement: https://www.veteransemployment.gov.au/winners-finalists/warwick-penrose-epe-explosive-protective-equipment

 

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Advisory Board consisting of Defence & Defence industry leaders appointed by EPE Group of Companies

Over the last 12 years EPE has evolved from a small Australian SME Defence business, into a Group of Companies with separate businesses operating in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The diverse business ranges from delivering an award-winning prime vendor contract to the New Zealand Defence Force, through to lead commercialisation partner working with CSIRO and DSTG to deliver a revolutionary ‘Broad Spectrum Respiratory Canister’. EPE will translate this technology to design and advanced manufacture activities for the Australian and international markets. Underpinning EPE’s sustained growth is a focus on development and integration of new and emerging technologies that will help Defence become better protected, connected and enabled, to enhance operational outcomes.

Warwick Penrose, Managing Director of the EPE Group of Companies commented “Our purpose is to improve safety and reduce the risk of harm from Explosive, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and other ‘Improvised’ threats. Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), as well as other technologies that optimise human performance are all core parts of our roadmap. To optimise our operating, growth and investment plans across the EPE Group, our Executive Team has appointed a Board of Advisors to provide independent thought governance.”

The Advisory Board is chaired by Chris Otley-Doe and includes Adam Findlay (AO) and Andrew Garth.

Chris previously founded Rubikon which he grew to become a Defence prime vendor, and was Managing Director of Accenture Australia. Chris commented on his role “Relationships are built on trust, loyalty and strong ethical bonds. This is the epitome of EPE which I have known and admired for many years. They have strong bonds with their extensive global supply chain and more importantly the service personnel that are protected by the array of what EPE provides. I’m also attracted by the innovation in a technically challenging environment, with Warwick and his team to be fast adopters of new technology.”

Adam comes to EPE with 37 years of military command experience of both conventional and special forces. He brings an exceptional knowledge of the national security environment at the strategic level, as well as close links to a generation of military leaders across the region. His senior appointments include as the Commander of all coalition Special Forces in Iraq that culminated in the liberation of Mosul from ISIS in 2017; and from 2017 to 2020 as Special Operations Commander – Australia (SOCAUST). Adam is now a Professor of Practice in Defence and Regional Security. He is also the Director of the Griffith University Defence Network (GDNet) where he leads a team that links Griffith University’s leading researchers and educators with Defence, Defence Industry and other universities to enhance national security capabilities.

In discussing why he welcomed the opportunity to join the EPE advisory board, Adam commented, “As Special Operations Commander I first got to know EPE as a company that was respected for their support, attitude and quality of their equipment that enhanced operational capabilities and protected ADF lives across the CBRNE spectrum. My ongoing interest in EPE is to enhance their development of sovereign national security capabilities to better enable and protect the warfighter. My contribution to EPE will be through linking my deep knowledge of the threat environment and ‘user requirement’ combined with my detailed understanding of the world-leading foundational scientific research currently being conducted across Australian universities.”

Andrew brings diverse leadership experience from both Defence industry and Government. This includes being a key team member that developed the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement and then establishing the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) which has now transitioned to ODIS.

Throughout Andrew’s time in Government and business, he has been extensively involved in guiding hundreds of SMEs through to success and growth in the Defence market. He has firsthand insight into the organisational factors that consistently lead to success, and he is excited to bring this experience to EPE.

Andrew commented “Defence industry makes a significant contribution to Defence capability and the protection of our service men and women. This is absolutely exemplified in the work that EPE undertakes. Critically as EPE grows it’s becoming a globally recognised Prime Systems Integrator, bringing together the best of world leading technologies while working with local industry and research organisations to create genuine sovereign industrial capabilities. This outcome is a key objective of industry policy and Defence need.”

EPE’s Advisory Board has intentionally been structured so EPE can further minimise risk and better meet the protection needs of Australia and our allies.

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Wide open spaces support drone development


How do you know if a “drone” – an uncrewed aircraft, surface vessel or submersible – actually works? And how do you develop a set of laws that ensure the safety of both the people around them and the drones themselves? These are now persistent challenges that the Queensland government has set out to address.

Queensland has significant industry and research strengths in robotic and autonomous systems and the state government has identified this as a key growth sector.

Two of the keys to safe growth in this sector, however, are finding space to test the technology along with creating a regulatory framework that ensures safety and a harmonious coexistence. This is where Queensland’s wide open spaces, on land and at sea, come in.

The existing portfolio of ships’ Collision Avoidance regulations, or COLREGS, needed to be rethought to accommodate Uncrewed Surface and Undersea Vessels (USVs and UUVs).

The Brisbane-based Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre, or TAS DCRC, found itself leading the world in doing this, according to its CEO, Glen Schafer.

The TAS DCRC, established with support from both the Department of Defence’s Next Generation Technologies Fund and the Queensland government, is designed to help develop next-generation autonomous and robotic technologies and generally enhance the competitiveness of the sector.

Developing new COLREGS and a regulatory environment for autonomous and robotic vessels is a vital step towards bringing them into widespread service and forms part of the TAS DCRC’s Assurance of Autonomy activity, sponsored by the Queensland government. The TAS DCRC’s Robotic & Autonomous Systems Gateway is designed to help Australian researchers and companies navigate the regulatory framework with greater certainty and efficiency, Schafer told The Australian.

The TAS DCRC released the Australian Code of Practice for building and operating autonomous and remotely operated vessels in May, along with the COLREGS Operator Guidance Framework, a world first.

These were showcased and put to the test by nine USVs at the international Maritime Showcase which preceded the TAS DCRC’s Autonomous Vessel Forum last month on the Great Barrier Reef.

This was the first significant commercial demonstration of multiple autonomous vessels in Australia, says Schafer, and highlighted both the rapid growth in technology and the need for a renewed regulatory environment.

The Queensland government has also partnered with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) whose new ReefWorks tropical marine test range, opened in January this year, hosted the Maritime Showcase.

ReefWorks is based near Townsville, close to the Great Barrier Reef.

It is the world’s only marine tropical test facility in the world and so enables testing of marine technologies, uncrewed systems and new sensors in a tropical marine environment.

ReefWorks actually consists of three separate ranges covering several thousand square kilometres: a coastal range adjacent to its Townsville headquarters at Cape Cleveland; one on the Reef itself; and a third on the outer Reef and the deep water at the edge of Australia’s continental shelf.

Also in May, ReefWorks hosted two Remotely Operated Vessels (ROV) participating in the RAN’s EX Autonomous Warrior – these were controlled from the Autonomous Warrior command centre 1800km away in Jervis Bay.

EX Autonomous Warrior is the RAN’s main program for trialling potential robotic and autonomous systems, both on the surface and underwater, along with artificial intelligence capabilities.

Queensland’s long-term investment in autonomous systems research is designed to support the development and testing of new uncrewed systems across all three domains.

The TAS DCRC and ReefWorks exist alongside the Queensland Flight Test Range at Cloncurry and the MILTECS land equipment test facility in South East Queensland, all supported by the Queensland government.

Collectively, they are designed to facilitate the regulatory reforms necessary to ensure Australia and the rest of the world adopt autonomous and robotic systems safely and position Queensland as a power in a global, emerging market.

Acknowledgement: The Australian :https://www-theaustralian-com-au.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.theaustralian.com.au/special-reports/wide-open-spaces-support-drone-development/news-story/49215b9879f948e939a8bdc93e1a38e6?amp

 

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Australian Army veteran, Warwick Penrose finalist for Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year in the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards

Veteran award finialist announcement


Australian Veteran Entrepreneur Warwick Penrose has been acknowledged for his entrepreneurial spirit, passion and commitment to business in Australia. Warwick is honoured to be named as a Finalist for 2022’s Veteran Entrepreneur of the Year for leading the EPE Group of Companies.

Established under the Prime Minister’s National Veterans’ Employment Program, the Awards recognise national contribution in veteran employment. The inaugural Veteran ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award recognises outstanding achievement by a veteran creating opportunity for Australia through entrepreneurship.

EPE has grown from humble beginnings in a ‘home office’ with 2 staff around Warwick’s pool table and sub $2.5 million annual revenues. Today as a medium sized Australian defence industry partner with offices in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, employing a team of 45-50 people with revenue of $40m, EPE’s Group of Companies delivers capabilities worldwide.

EPE’s purpose is to enable and protect Australia and its allies to safely operate in harmful environments. EPE’s predominantly veteran workforce brings a unique skillset in Counter-IED and Counter-Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Improvised Threats, gained from supporting operations across Australia’s Five Eyes and NATO partners.  Warwick elaborated on this “EPE applies our domain knowledge to assist our clients to achieve their missions. I was very fortunate with my own Defence experience, having a number of postings with the sole focus to establish new capabilities, very rapidly.”

The company’s growth has enabled a focus on innovation and developing emerging technologies that will help defence become better protected, connected and enabled.  Warwick continued “We’ve partnered with Australia’s national research agency, CSIRO and have invested to build EPE’s MILTECS Test & Evaluation facilities. MILTECS supports several defence Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities (SICP’s) and has successfully expanded Australia’s test and evaluation eco-system. These facilities are now being used by defence, defence industry and our research partners to accelerate the delivery of new technologies into the hands of Australian troops and our allied partners.”

“As an individual I’m honoured to be a veteran of the Australian Army, but acknowledgement as a finalist in this award also belongs to my team of veterans and our entire team,” he said.

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BAE Systems Australia and EPE announce autonomous capability partnership

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Announcing the partnership at Land Forces 2022 in Brisbane, the two organisations will collaborate on the development of autonomous technologies through BAE Systems’ Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) program, which began this year.
Focused on implementing BAE Systems’ advanced vehicle management systems on to UGVs, the collaboration with EPE aims to develop soldier support systems for the Australian Army.

As Australian agents to the HDT Hunter WOLF (Wheeled Offload Logistics Follower) UGV platform, EPE was initially contracted to provide platform, integration and engineering support as well as test facilities, using the company’s state-of-the-art UGV test and evaluation facilities in south-east Queensland.

Operating within a multi-domain autonomy architecture, the program focuses on the integration of UGV mission systems to enable prototyping that will develop certifiable mission systems.

BAE Systems Australia, Managing Director for Defence Delivery, Andrew Gresham said:

“We are pleased to partner with EPE to help develop and grow sovereign autonomous capability here in Australia.”

“It’s critical for businesses like ours to collaborate with Australian industry so we can successfully support the ADF and, working with companies such as EPE provides opportunities to work as one team, creating an environment that fosters innovation.”

“Having access to the EPE’s unmanned ground vehicle platform and magnificent test facilities here in South-East Queensland has helped us make significant advances in ground autonomy technology, and we look forward to furthering this work together.”

BAE Systems Australia is an industry partner and the Land Domain Lead to government agency Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre. Commercialisation of this technology will be accelerated through these collaborations.

EPE’s Director Innovation and Commercialisation Ben Sorensen said:

“It’s been an extremely positive experience working with BAE Systems on a shared pursuit of a multi-domain, collaborative and autonomous robotics for Defence at our MILTECS test and assurance facility.
“Our technical teams are working collaboratively, both virtually and face-to-face, to advance the technology, enhance capability and significantly de-risk future Defence programs.”

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Queensland leading the way in autonomous defence systems

Queensland leading the way in autonomous defence systems

Already delivering leading national defence capability, Queensland is setting itself up as a world leader in autonomous defence systems’ innovation and development.


As the political environment shifts across the globe, it brings with it new security challenges. Advances in technology are enabling innovation.  Australia’s Defence requirements must also adapt.

While robotics and the development of autonomous defence systems are rapidly advancing, Defence specialist EPE is looking to do much more than simply keep up with the rest of the world.

EPE’s Director Innovation and Commercialisation, Ben Sorensen, explains that with partners such as CSIRO, the company is working at the forefront of technology to deliver new capabilities for customers.

“We’re fortunate, because Queensland has grown some world-leading technology capabilities,” Sorensen said.

“Autonomous systems technologies developed right here in Brisbane have been recognised by the US Department of Defense and Defence Primes as some of the best in the world.”

With the help of a Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority grant of $1.4 million, the Australian company has delivered a Military Training, Evaluation, Certification and Systems Assurance facility, better known as MILTECS, in South East Queensland.

MILTECS is a specialised unmanned systems training and testing facility just west of Brisbane built to help Defence, Emergency Services, industry and researchers test and build capabilities to counter Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) and explosive threats in a representative environment.

“It’s really about assurance at the end of the day. That what you are developing is fit-for-purpose, that it’s going to be safe and it’s the sort of thing that we can also adopt and employ as novel capabilities to enable warfighters and emergency responders.

“Our customers and our partners are all focused on cutting-edge technology and working in environments which are extremely challenging. I certainly think that our technology and our partnerships are really pushing that edge out further.

“Our innovation work is focused on enabling and protecting people in dangerous environments. We’ve been doing work integrating sensors, and autonomy capabilities with tracked, wheeled, legged and flying robotic platforms.”

Andros Fx with EPE UDM with Titan and PAN and AUSCAM at Helidon 19

EPE’s MILTECS Manager, Dean Beaumont, says the MILTECS sites located in Queensland’s south east corner, at CSIRO’s Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies at Pullenvale and Helidon are supporting the development of human-machine teaming.

“We’ve really seen a dramatic increase in the practical testing and validation of UGVs and UAVs over the past 6 months, compared to recent years,” Beaumont said.

“Current world events are probably supporting this growth in interest and innovation, as is the need for commercial organisations to explore new ways to use robotics to enable people and keep them safe in potentially dangerous environments.”

Beaumont says the location of MILTECS is a factor in its current and future success.

“With Defence, we have bases at Amberley and Enoggera that geographically suit our location. Brisbane based Emergency Services and commercial primes are also located in close proximity to the MILTECS sites, ensuring easy access to the purpose built facilities.

“There hasn’t been a lot of red tape to set our facilities up in accordance with Queensland and Commonwealth Government requirements and legislation. We have been able to achieve all of our planned outcomes.”

Sorensen agrees.

“The south east corner of Queensland is the centre of gravity for robotics and autonomy in the country.

“There’s a critical mass of Research and Industry working together, and that seems to have created some good conditions for growth in this area.”

He says that the importance of State Government strategic policy as an enabler to allow industries to support growth shouldn’t be downplayed.

“We know support for Defence and Defence Industry is central to the Queensland Government policy, and that supports us to do our work.”

This alignment with the Defence Industries 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan reinforces the value of the strategic vision of the Queensland Government to support the growth of the defence industry.

EPE isn’t alone in autonomous defence development in Queensland.

Cloncurry, in the state’s west, is home to the Queensland Flight Test Range – Australia’s first commercial testing facility for uncrewed aerial systems. This facility enables industry to undertake testing and evaluation of new platforms and payloads, a critical requirement to Australia achieving sovereign capability.

Queensland is also home to the $50 million Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre, which is driving the development of game-changing drone and robotics technology for the Australian Defence Force, and enabling greater insights into the assurance processes necessary to ensure the safe application of new such technologies.

Additionally, the Queensland Government in partnership with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) is funding the extension of a unique marine technology testing infrastructure and capability to support autonomous maritime (surface and underwater) systems at different levels of technology readiness. In May this year, the tropical marine test range, known as Reefworks, hosted elements of Navy’s Autonomous Warrior exercise, with Australian designed and built uncrewed vessels controlled from Navy’s Autonomous Warrior command centre in Jervis Bay.

The State Government also attracted Boeing Defence Australia to headquarter in Queensland along with its subsidiary Insitu Pacific.

In 2022, Insitu Pacific was selected to deliver 24 ‘Integrator’ tactical uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) under Land 129 phase 3 to the Australian Army, estimated to be worth approximately $307 million. The platforms are set to be manufactured from the company’s facility in Brisbane, with delivery expected in 2023 and 2024.

EPE also partnered with Insitu Pacific, Urban Circus and Downer to make up the all-Queensland Muskito Team which delivered to the Defence Innovation Hub a technology demonstrator for unmanned CIED route clearance and route proving, through detection, discrimination, location and reporting to provide timely, accurate tactical decision-making.

The State’s proximity to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and its long history of military presence, makes it ideally placed to work with Defence industries to promote security and stability in the region and strengthen sovereign capabilities.

“Government has recognised that the capabilities that we’re developing at EPE and at MILTECS are sovereign capabilities” Sorensen said.

“We’re working to develop human and autonomous systems capability and capacity, and commercial opportunities to supply the ADF and export markets.”

EPE’s MILTECS builds on Queensland’s track record in delivering the most advanced, large-scale military manufacturing projects including vehicles and munitions, as well as research capability, skills, facilities and supply chains ready for service.

Acknowledgement Defence Connect: https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/key-enablers/10580-queensland-leading-the-way-in-autonomous-defence-systems

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EPE announces the appointment of Ben Sorensen as Director Innovation & Commercialisation

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Ben Sorensen joined EPE in August 2022 and brings over 26 years of commercial experience to EPE. Ben leads EPE Innovation and is focused on delivering game-changing capabilities and competitive advantage for Australia.

Ben has led commercial R&D activities for CSIRO’s Data61, with responsibility for enterprise, defence and national security collaborations. He has worked extensively with defence research and development, including with the ADF, DSTG, DARPA, US Army and defence and aerospace Primes to develop and commercialise capabilities in robotics, autonomous systems, cyber security, data, AI and analytics. Most recently Ben was an executive and board director of the $100 million Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre. 

Earlier, Ben established and operated the Queensland Innovation Hub with PwC and the Queensland Government, and taught corporate venturing and disruptive innovation leadership at the QUT Graduate School of Business. He has been a member of public company executive teams (ASX:AAC, ASX:GOW), and has consulted to investment funds and investee companies. Ben has established and run intellectual property and manufacturing businesses, raised capital, and has been commercial manager for a global technology business.

Outside of EPE, Ben advises boards, invests in impact-focused technology start-ups, and has been a judge for innovation for the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Business Awards since 2015.

Ben is an author and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  

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EPE partners with U.S. drone manufacturer Skydio to bring its autonomous platform to Australian and New Zealand Defence customers.


Australian company EPE partners with U.S. drone manufacturer Skydio to bring its autonomous platform to Australian and New Zealand Defence customers.

EPE today announced its partnership with Skydio, the leading U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight, to offer its autonomous Skydio X2D defence drone to customers in Australia and New Zealand.

‘Our missions align, EPE’s focus is to protect our soldiers and first responders through innovative solutions’ said the Australian veteran owner of EPE, Warwick Penrose.

EPE is providing leading technologies into Defence’s Experimentation Teams in the area of Human Machine Teaming and the Skydio X2D meets current reconnaissance and surveillance requirements to counter emerging threats.

In February 2022, the Skydio X2D system was selected for the U.S. Army’s Short Range Reconnaissance (SRR) Program of Record. Leveraging Skydio Autonomy, the world’s leading AI-driven flight autonomy software, the Skydio X2D is the ultimate solution for military  customers to perform reconnaissance, search and rescue, and security patrol missions. Designed, assembled, and supported in the USA, it complies with rigorous supply chain security requirements and offers superior cybersecurity protection.

About Skydio

Skydio is the leading U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight. Skydio leverages breakthrough AI to create the world’s most intelligent flying machines for use by consumer, enterprise, and government customers. Founded in 2014, Skydio is made up of leading experts in AI, robotics, cameras, and electric vehicles from top companies, research labs, and universities from around the world. Skydio designs, assembles, and supports its products in the U.S. from its headquarters in Redwood City, CA, to offer the highest standards of supply chain and manufacturing security. Skydio is trusted by leading enterprises across a wide range of industry sectors and is backed by top investors and strategic partners including Andreesen Horowitz, Levitate Capital, Next47, IVP, Playground, and NVIDIA.

 

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Rigaku Releases Major Software Upgrade for Handheld Raman Devices with Enhanced GUI and Analytical Workflow

Rigaku Analytical Devices, a pioneer in handheld 1064 nm Raman spectroscopy, announces the release of a new software version for their ResQ CQL product line. The Rigaku ResQ CQL 2.0 analyzer delivers an upgraded graphical user interface (GUI) providing a more streamlined workflow making it even easier to use, coupled with algorithm enhancements – including the analysis of mixtures.

The ResQ CQL, released in 2018, was based on Rigaku’s award-winning original ResQ 1064 nm Raman analyzer platform. The ResQ CQL offers users advanced analytical chemical identification using the advantage of 1064 nm Raman laser excitation which reduces fluorescence interference, in a new tactical form factor. With thousands of units successfully deployed around the world, first responders, border protection, law enforcement, and the military have chosen Rigaku’s handheld Raman portfolio to rapidly identify chemical threats – such as explosives, chemical warfare agents (CWAs), precursors, hazardous chemicals, narcotics, and more – in high stress environments.

The ResQ CQL 2.0 is the next generation of analyzers approved by the U.S. DoD JPEO DR SKO Program and delivers features including:

  • Simplified, larger on-screen buttons for easier navigation
  • Attractive, familiar icons for easy use in all light conditions
  • More streamlined navigation simplifying operation and reducing training time
  • Key information presented on the result screens in order to provide faster action
  • Improved analytical performance with an improved data collection and automated mixture algorithm providing even novice users with high performance, quality scans
  • Integrated Chemwatch SDS information
  • Enhanced device-to-device user library transfer
  • Pre-configured setting selections based on application
  • Additions to the on-board library, including narcotics and chemical warfare agents

“The goal of this new software was really to improve the overall user experience overall,” said Chris Langford, VP Marketing & Product Management. “We wanted to reduce the cognitive load on the operator by having them make fewer decisions and do less configuring of settings in order to perform a high-quality scan. We want a “push button, get answer” workflow with reliable results every time.”

Current users of the ResQ CQL can expect to receive this software upgrade free of charge.

For more information on the ResQ CQL 2.0, or to request the software, please visit our Product page.

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EPE briefing the Chief of Army Lieutenant General Simon Stuart on the EPE & Freespace Operations solution to meet the AID2022 Challenge

EPE briefing the Chief of Army Lieutenant General Simon Stuart

EPE briefing the Chief of Army Lieutenant General Simon Stuart

Robbie Wild and Ben Evans from EPE briefing the Chief of Army Lieutenant General Simon Stuart on the EPE & Freespace Operations solution to meet the AID2022 Challenge of Logistics UAV capability to carry 35 kilograms over 100km.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could be delivering supplies and doing casualty evacuations within five to 10 years, if concepts at this year’s Army Innovation Day come to fruition.

Ahead of the day, a tender was released for logistics UAV concepts to fill a capability gap of flying certain weights over set distances.

Army received 55 responses and 18 were selected to exhibit during Innovation Day.

Some concepts filled the heavy category of flying 800 kilograms over 200 kilometres, others aimed to meet the 35 kilograms over 100-kilometre category, while designs to fly 200 kilograms over 180 kilometres filled the casualty evacuation role.

Brigadier Warren Gould, Director General of Systems and Integration in Army Headquarters, said Army was looking at what was achievable, despite logistics UAVs not being a fully mature capability.

“It’s about developing concepts. Each of these are at a different level of maturity and thinking,” he said.

“None are going to lead to a delivery of immediate capability in the next 12-24 months. It’s about developing technology that has a path into a major project in future years.”

Innovation Days, held since 2016, ask industry to address a theme, receive responses, compare and narrow down selections.

Brigadier Gould said this improved on old methods of relying on industry to submit ideas and concepts.

“Here, we see them all together but we also demonstrate their wares to wider Army,” he said.

“If we were just looking at an idea in Army HQ, it would get a bit isolated, but in a public event like this with all of Army, we’re able to discuss in the margins and get different points of view.”

From here, concepts presented will be further assessed by Brigadier Gould’s team and the Defence Innovation Hub to see how likely they are to achieve benchmarks.

Successful respondents will be announced in September.

Following last year’s Innovation Day, Army entered into contracts with two companies developing alternate power supplies.

“With Army Innovation Day, we get an early view of what industry is thinking. We are able to give them guidance if they are on track with something we are interested in,” Brigadier Gould said.

“We’re able to focus energy and capacity into what could be a good idea.

“I’d like to thank the Defence Innovation Hub for their support and contracting methods to contract successful tenderers.”

Acknowledgement Australian Defence News: https://www.csiro.au/en/news/News-releases/2022/Worlds-best-respirator

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Partnership between Australian company EPE and US company Shield AI brings the drone named by joint US and Israeli forces as the ‘most mission capable indoor drone’ to Australia and New Zealand

Shield_AI_EPE_Announcement_News12

Partnership between Australian company EPE and US company Shield AI brings the drone named by joint US and Israeli forces as the ‘most mission capable indoor drone’ to Australia and New Zealand.

EPE announced its partnership with Shield AI, the fast-growing defense technology company building AI pilots for aircraft, to deliver its next era of AI to the Australian and New Zealand markets.

The clear synergies between Shield AI and Australian-veteran-owned EPE are evident – a shared mission to protect our soldiers underpinned by a commitment to innovative solutions. EPE is providing leading technologies into Defence’s Experimentation Teams in the area of Human Machine Teaming, in addition to the delivery of 5 Defence Innovation Hub Projects which developed innovative solutions to counter emerging threats.

Shield AI’s Nova 2 drone uses state-of-the-art path planning and computer vision algorithms to autonomously navigate complex subterranean and multi-story buildings without GPS, communications or a human pilot.

EPE will feature the Nova 2 at the Army Robotics Exposition (ARX) in Adelaide this week as part of the Chief of Army Symposium.

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Second Generation Handheld Raman Analyzer from Rigaku Analytical Devices chosen as part of the U.S. JPEO CBRND Program to modernize the Military’s DR SKO Systems

Rigaku-ResQ-CQL-1000x675

The Rigaku ResQ CQL 1064 nm handheld Raman analyzer will be deployed globally as part of the U.S. Dismounted Reconnaissance Sets, Kits, and Outfits (DR SKO) Program

Wilmington, MA (June 1, 2022) – Rigaku Analytical Devices, a U.S.-based leading pioneer of handheld 1064 nm-Raman based spectrometers, is pleased to announce the Rigaku ResQ CQL 1064 nm Raman analyzer has been accepted for chemical identification as part of the U.S. Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO CBRND) Program to modernize the military’s Dismounted Reconnaissance Sets, Kits and Outfits (DR SKO) systems. The DR SKO System Modernization program deploys new and improved kits of technology to Department of Defense (DoD) locations around the world for characterization of suspected chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) hazards.

Rigaku’s original handheld 1064 nm Raman-based analyzer, the ResQ, was selected into this program in 2019 as part of a tech refresh program led by the DoD’s JPEO-CBRND Program. Following extensive head-to-head evaluations of a variety of technologies, Rigaku’s portfolio was chosen based on its accuracy, ease of use, ruggedness, and features.

The Rigaku ResQ CQL analyzer was launched in 2018, and offers users advanced analytical chemical analysis in a new, tactical form factor. Rigaku’s 1064 nm Raman-based technology is in use by first responders, border protection, law enforcement, and the military located around the world for identifying chemical threats – such as explosives, chemical warfare agents (CWAs), precursor chemicals, household hazardous chemicals, narcotics, and more.

Unique features to the Rigaku product line include 4C Technology which monitors individual results for precursors that could be used in recipes to manufacture greater threats. The optional QuickDetect Mode allows for the detection of non-visible amounts of a substance based on automated colorimetric technology available on-board the ResQ CQL. This provides both detection and identification on one device – not available on any other Raman analyzer.

“Rigaku is at the forefront of chemical threat analysis,” said Bree Allen, President of Rigaku Analytical Devices. “The ResQ CQL represents the next advancement in our product portfolio, and we are proud it will be part of the new chemical response toolkits used by our defense forces.

The ResQ CQL analyzer is supported by Rigaku’s global sales and support distribution channels, offering 24/7 Reachback support, library updates and software upgrades for the life of the analyzer.

For more information on the ResQ CQL, please visit https://www.epequip.com/catalogue/all-hazards-cbrne/detection-diagnostics/chemical/resq-cql/

Rigaku Analytical Devices is leading with innovation to pioneer a portfolio of handheld and portable spectroscopic analyzers for use in public health and safety, scientific and academic study, recycling and reuse of metal alloys, and to ensure the quality of key metal alloy components in critical industries. We strive to deliver quality, reliability and engaged expertise to our customers with our advanced product and capabilities and are dedicated to continual product development efforts to deliver mission critical enhancements to performance and functionality and reliable, cost-effective solutions for end users. Our rugged products operate on an open architecture platform and deliver unparalleled accuracy and support for rapid lab-quality results any time, any place.

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RedWave Technology Introduces the Only Handheld System That Can Identify Up to 5,500 Gases in Seconds

XploIR News

XploIR News

Homeland security company RedWave Technology is introducing the XplorIR, the most innovative gas-identification system specifically developed for today’s emergency response missions.

The XplorIR can identify over 5,500 gases at low part per million (ppm) concentrations.  It is the first handheld FTIR identification tool with this breadth and sensitivity.  The lightweight device can be used on scene, measuring the gas at its source.  The XplorIR can identify many dangerous gases, including toxic industrial compounds (TICs), flammables, corrosives, industrial gases, and many other chemicals at operationally relevant levels.

Jon Frattaroli, CEO of RedWave Technology stated, “Teams around the country told us that they needed technology that could quickly and accurately identify a wide range of toxic gases. This capability gap directly affects their ability to quickly mitigate threats.  We undertook the development of the XplorIR with the simple focus of creating a chemical analyzer that could keep responders and their communities safer from dangerous gases.”

While teams have many tools to detect an unknown gas, there is no compelling technology that allows responders to quickly identify a gas with a high level of accuracy. With the XplorIR, emergency response teams can quickly identify exactly what gas they are encountering so they can develop a mitigation plan.

John Seelenbinder, Director of Product Development at Redwave added, “The core technology behind the XplorIR is FTIR spectroscopy; it has been used for more than 20 years in homeland security applications.  Advancements in both optical design and computational algorithms provide unprecedented performance, allowing operation in the most rigorous conditions. The XplorIR was designed for emergency responders with significant input from emergency response teams around the country.”

Seelenbinder explained that emergency response teams never know what they are going to encounter and they need to be prepared for an unbelievably wide range of threats, whether it’s common industrial gas or even a large-scale terrorist event.

“Identification of the dangers present is a fundamental need in emergency response. The XplorIR now allows chemical identification of gases with a speed and simplicity never before achievable,” Frattaroli said.

RedWave Technology also builds the ThreatID, a portable chemical threat identifier that can identify thousands of gas, powder, and liquid threats all in one device. It has been the fastest-growing FTIR-based threat identifier for the past three years.

For more information about the XplorIR, visit https://redwavetech.com/xplorir.

Acknowledgement RedWave media announcement: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/redwave-technology-introduces-the-xplorir-the-only-handheld-system-that-can-identify-up-to-5-500-gases-in-seconds-301552473.html

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EPE announces the appointment of Ben Evans as Capture & Capability, Special Projects

Ben-Evans-Caputre-Capability-Speical-Projects_EPE

Ben-Evans-Caputre-Capability-Speical-Projects_EPE


Ben joins EPE following 17 years of service within the Australian Army, including a decade of specialisation within the Defence complex procurement environment.

Ben ‘s early career saw him undertake regimental and training command postings within the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. Following operational deployment with the Special Operations Task Group Ben worked within the Combat Training Centre assisting in the pre-deployment training & certification for higher headquarter units.

Since 2013, after specialising in Defence complex procurement, Ben was employed in Project Management and Test & Evaluation Management positions within three of the Australian Army’s largest projects, culminating as the Director Test & Evaluation of the Special Operations Programme. Ben has a vast knowledge of the ADFs capability acquisition structure, policies and processes. He holds a Masters of Capability Management and a Masters of Systems Engineering.

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EPE and RedWave partnering to bring the world’s fastest-growing FTIR-based chemical threat identifier to ANZ

Partnership to provide leading HAZMAT ID technology to Australia and NZ

Partnership to provide leading HAZMAT ID technology to Australia and NZ


Partnership between EPE and RedWave brings the world’s fastest-growing FTIR-based chemical threat identifier to Australia and New Zealand

After a year of unprecedented demand for RedWave Technology’s chemical threat detection products in the US, RedWave has appointed EPE as their exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand.  The partnership is part of RedWave’s rapid expansion into the international market outside of the US.

RedWave selected EPE for its expertise in chemical threat detection, known in the Australian and New Zealand markets for the technical support they provide, integrity, and proven commitment to protecting the first responder community.

ThreatID HAZMAT ID Portable Gas, Chemical, Narcotics and Explosives Identifier - EPE. Trusted to Protect

Jon Frattaroli, CEO of Redwave Technology commented, “We have seen incredible demand in the US for our ThreatID chemical identifier as it is the only analyser that is capable of identifying thousands of gas, powder, and liquid threats all in one device.”  Frattaroli continued, “Its ability to identify 5,500 gases and vapours and over 22,000 powders and liquids represents a leap forward in protecting our first responders from chemicals, narcotics, and explosives.”

‘EPE is confident that the ThreatID will provide a much-needed capability enhancement in the field-based identification of gas compounds for our first responder community in Australia and New Zealand’, commented Dave Byrne, EPE’s specialist CBRNe Capability Manager.

About RedWave Technology

RedWave Technology is a Homeland Security company based in Danbury, CT whose mission is to protect our nation by developing state of the art detection technology for America and its allies.

About EPE

EPE provides CBRN defence (CBRND), Counter IED, and Force Protection solutions and support to Australian and New Zealand First Responders, Defence Forces, Law Enforcement, and other government agencies. We are former Counter IED specialists with real world operational experience. We understand how the specialist 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.

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EPE ranks 12th in Australian Defence Magazine Top ANZ SME’s and 17th in Top 20 SME suppliers to Defence

EPE ranks 12th in Australian Defence Magazine Top ANZ SME’s and 17th in Top 20 SME suppliers to Defence

EPE ranks 12th in Australian Defence Magazine Top ANZ SME’s and 17th in Top 20 SME suppliers to Defence


EPE ranks 12th in Australian Defence Magazine Top ANZ SME’s and 17th in Top 20 SME suppliers to Defence

Australian Defence Magazine (ADM) has released their 2021 rankings which identifies the Top Contractors to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and New Zealand Defence Force.

In the Top 20 ANZ SME ranking (which includes only Australian and New Zealand owned and operated suppliers) EPE ranked 12th and in the Top SME suppliers, EPE ranked 17th. EPE’s consistent position in these rankings since 2011, demonstrates our solid commitment to provide solutions to protect ADF and NZDF personnel. The year represented another period of strong growth for EPE, with significant increase in revenue and staff numbers doubling from 20 to 41.

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.

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RedWave Technology Announces First Slate of International Partners

RedWave Technology Announces First Slate of International Partners

RedWave Technology Announces First Slate of International Partners

 

Originally published on FireHouse.

The partners were chosen for their expertise in chemical threat detection and are known in their local markets for the technical support they provide, analytical proficiency and integrity.

After a year of unprecedented domestic demand for RedWave Technology’s chemical threat detection products, RedWave has announced its plans to rapidly expand into international markets effective immediately.

Jon Frattaroli, RedWave Technology’s CEO, stated, “A combination of increasing demand for our ThreatID as well as our expanded manufacturing capabilities has made it clear to us that now is the time to expand the availability of our products outside of the United States. The ThreatID has become the fastest-growing chemical threat identifier on the market and we feel a responsibility to bring this technology to the rest of the world in order to keep our communities safe from chemical threats.”

RedWave said the partners were chosen for their expertise in chemical threat detection and are known in their local markets for the technical support they provide, analytical proficiency and integrity. They are:

  • Target Tecnologia, which brings the most advanced technology for the detection of threats in the field of security, military, police, and emergencies to Spain and Portugal.
  • Raytech, which focuses on the supply of modern and portable mobile devices for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives (CBRNe) threat analysis for uniformed and special services in Poland.
  • HazmatLINK, which provides products that can be used in hazardous materials or CBRNe response situations to identify unknown substances. They represent the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
  • BMD S.p.A, a nationwide leader in providing high-tech man portable analytical and protection platforms for CBRN and security applications. They operate in the air/liquid filtration and purification sector, security equipment, and systems integration for the industrial, aeronautical, hazmat, emergency responders and military sectors in Italy.
  • RMI, which supplies a broad range of modern and innovative CBRNe detection technologies and which has developed into one of the largest suppliers of portable detection instrumentation in Central Europe. They represent the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Kazakhstan.
  • ST Japan, a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-quality accessories for sample preparation and spectra databases for analytical laboratories in industry, science, and education in Japan. RedWave has a history of 30+ years with ST Japan.
  • BLG Savunma, which provides the Turkish defence industry with the most modern, innovative, and advanced technology of highly qualified products. They represent Turkey, Iraq, and Azerbaijan.
  • EPE, delivers CBRNe, Hazmat, Counter IED, and Force Protection solutions and support to defence, law enforcement, emergency services, and other government agencies in the Asia Pacific Region, and represents RedWave in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Analyticon, which sells innovative spectrometers for mobile on-site measurements and in-process chemical analyses and represents RedWave Technology in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
  • HTDS, ensures the marketing and maintenance of high-tech security equipment intended for passenger checks, securing luggage, vehicles and freight, adapted to the needs of airports, ports, railway stations, forces Police, customs, transport companies, prisons, and other Major Administrations. They represent RedWave Technology in France, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Algeria, and non-exclusively across select countries in Africa.

“RedWave has the needs and interests of our first responders at the centre of everything we do, so by choosing to expand outside of the United States, we will not compromise on how we train, support and engage with our end-users. We made a conscious decision to select the best partners that will provide that same level of support, responsiveness and focus that we do in the U.S.,” Frattaroli added. “RedWave partners offer a breadth of products, services and application knowledge to ensure the first responders, customs and postal inspectors, law enforcement, forensics investigations, and CBRNe chemical response and defence personnel have the best tools for threat identification at their fingertips.”

Since its launch in 2020, RedWave’s ThreatID, which can identify thousands of gas, powder and liquid threats all in one device, has become the fastest-growing FTIR-based chemical threat identifier in the world.

To learn more about RedWave Technology’s global partners, visit redwavetech.com.

About RedWave Technology

RedWave Technology is a Homeland Security company based in Danbury, CT whose mission is to protect our nation by developing state of the art detection technology for America and its allies.

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EPE announces the appointment of Russ Smith as Through Life Support Manager

Russ Smith - Through Life Support Manager

Russ Smith - Through Life Support Manager


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

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EPE announces the appointment of Joe Hill as Project Delivery Manager

Joe-Hill-Announcement

Joe-Hill-Announcement


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.

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Land Capability Division’s RICO Trialling Small RPVs

Land Capability Division’s RICO Trialling Small RPVs

Land Capability Division’s RICO Trialling Small RPVs


Robots take to the field

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.

Access full publication here >

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Defence Minister the Hon Peter Dutton tours EPE’s Brisbane Headquarters

Defence Minister the Hon Peter Dutton tours EPE's Brisbane Headquarters

Defence Minister the Hon Peter Dutton tours EPE's Brisbane Headquarters


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.

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CSIRO and EPE announce partnership

EPE builds Australian-first robotics facility in partnership with CSIRO

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.

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Minelab and EPE Announce Exclusive Teaming Agreement

Minelab and EPE Annouce Exclusive Teaming Agreement

Minelab and EPE Annouce Exclusive Teaming Agreement


Australian companies Minelab and EPE announce an Exclusive Teaming Agreement in support of specific Defence Land Projects.

Minelab and EPE Annouce Exclusive Teaming AgreementMinelab, 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.

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SICP Grant delivering critical Defence sovereign capability outcomes

SICP Grant delivering critical Defence sovereign capability outcomes


SICP Grant delivering critical Defence sovereign capability outcomes


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:

  1. Enhance EPE’s Defence Industry Security Program (DISP) compliance levels
  2. CIED Detection and Mounted and Dismounted Training Lanes Proving Centre (PC)
  3. Unmanned Systems Proving Centre (PC)
  4. Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Tools Proving Centre (PC)
  5. CBRNe Sensor Test Laboratory (Test Lab)
  6. Unmanned Systems Platform Integration and Testing (Test Lab)
  7. 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.’

For more information

Contact Narelle Hoffman, Marketing and Communications Manager +61 (07) 3308 9300 or email:

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Minister for Defence Industry Announces EPE SICP Grant

Minister for Defence Industry Announces EPE SICP Grant

Minister for Defence Indusrty Annouces EPE SICP Grant


Originally published on the Australian Government Department of Defence Media Release Site

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:

Company Grant Amount Grant Funding Purpose State
EPE $1,400,000 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. QLD
Diamond Defence Pty Ltd $290,990 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. VIC
Moog Australia $209,772 Support to acquire and install new specialist equipment. VIC
Novafast International Pty Ltd $1,366,962 Support the acquisition and installation of new robotics equipment for new manufacturing technologies in composite products. SA
Varley Rafael Australia $183,022 Expansion of current Guided Weapons capabilities by setting up and commissioning a SPIKE Launcher assembly line, by upgrading facilities and associated security measures. VIC
HTA Group Pty Ltd $1,069,479 Support the acquisition and installation of specialist equipment for defence and aerospace compliant vacuum hardening processes in Victoria and New South Wales. VIC/NSW
Australian Precision Technologies Pty Ltd $1,054,137 Expansion and update of specialist equipment and current facilities for precision machining and milling. VIC
Able Industries Engineering Pty Ltd $1,395,344 Purchase, construct, install and commission new capital equipment, implement workforce training, skills development and quality accreditation. VIC
Able Industries Engineering Pty Ltd $331,450 Completed required building modifications to enhance the company’s ability to manufacture key components. VIC
Abstec Calibrations Australia Pty Ltd $185,117 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 SA
GW Kewder Engineering Pty Ltd $294,000 Investment in specialist machining tools to continue to support the manufacture of precision components. VIC
Campagno Engineering Pty Ltd $609,266 Acquire and install specialist equipment. VIC
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EPE Supporting SOER Association

EPE Supporting SOER Association

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.

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Q&A: EPE and Defence Connect


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.

Scott: Thanks Liam!

Original Publication Available on Defence Connect Website.

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EPE supports 42 for 42 Afghanistan War Memorial Garden

EPE supports 42 for 42 Afghanistan War Memorial Garden_01

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.

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Muskito UGV joins ADF autonomous anti-mine warfare capability

Moskito Project - Hunter WOLF with GPR technology

Moskito Project - Hunter WOLF with GPR technology


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.”

Original Publication by Max Blenkin for the ADBR Magazine.

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EPE and Peraton Remotec announce partnership in Australia and New Zealand.

The Hon. Andrew Hastie & The Hon. Trevor Evans Visiting EPE HQ
The Hon. Andrew Hastie & The Hon. Trevor Evans Visiting EPE HQ being briefed on the Andros FX by Warwick Penrose and Scott Corrigan
The Hon. Andrew Hastie & The Hon. Trevor Evans Visiting at EPE HQ being briefed on the Andros FX by Warwick Penrose and Scott Corrigan

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.

Also published in Defence Connect

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The Hon. Andrew Hastie & The Hon. Trevor Evans Visiting EPE Headquarters

The Hon. Andrew Hastie & The Hon. Trevor Evans Visiting EPE HQ

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.

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ARX21 Display and demonstration of Sovereign Australian Industry Capability

Callisto Drone carrying DR20 robot at ARX2021

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.

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EPE announces the appointment of James Gatley as Capability Manager, Countermeasures

James Gatley as Capability Manager, Countermeasures


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.

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EPE announces the appointment of David McDonald as Specialist Trainer

David McDonals as Specialist Trainer

David McDonals as Specialist Trainer


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.

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EPE announces the appointment of Tam Abbs as Strategic Pursuits Manager

Tam Abbs as Strategic Pursuits Manager.

Tam Abbs, Strategic Pursuits Manager


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.

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EPE announces the appointment of Craig Jolly as Capture Manager

Craig Jolly Capture Manager

 Craig Jolly, Capture Manager


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.

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Rigaku ResQ CQL Raman Analyzer Wins Design Excellence Award

Rigaku Wins Design Awards

Rigaku Wins Design Awards


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.

Read Full Article Here >

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EPE partners with Downer to deliver Defence Innovation Hub project

Hunter Wolf Downer Project

Hunter Wolf Downer Project


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.

About DOWNER

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:

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EPE ranks 17th in Australian Defence Magazine Top SME suppliers to Defence

EPE ranks 17th in Australian Defence Magazine Top SME suppliers to Defence

EPE ranks 17th in Australian Defence Magazine Top SME suppliers to Defence

 


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.

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EPE features in Line of Defence Magazine

EPE Features in Line of Defence


EPE features in an article in New Zealand’s premiere Defence magazine – Line of Defence.

The necessity in New Zealand for the Through Life Support (TLS) of essential Defence equipment to be delivered in-country has been particularly highlighted by COVID-19.

In this article, Editor Nicholas Dynon explore the TLS model that has been established and delivered in-country by EPE to ensure optimal Operational Availability (AØ) of essential equipment.

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EOD10. The most trusted BOMBSUIT across the world

EOD10 the most trusted Bombsuit accross the world

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.
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EPE participating in Autonomous Warrior 2020 #AW2020

EPE participating to Autonomous Warrior 2020 #AW2020

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.

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Rigaku handheld solutions used in South-east Asia’s biggest synthetic Drug Bust

Fentanyl Drug Bust Myanmar

South-east Asia’s biggest synthetic Drug Bust

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.

Credits: The GuardianRead Original Publication

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