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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.”
What a great format #CAS2022 provided to demonstrate emerging Australian human machine teaming capabilities. Thanks to Australian Army organisers of #ARX2022 and #AID2022, industry genuinely appreciates the opportunity to showcase and engage.
Great opportunity to brief the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Simon Stuart, AO, DSC on the EPE. Trusted To Protect and Freespace Operations Australian sovereign solution to meet the #AID Logistic UAS challenge.
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.
$8.6 million Defence Innovation Hub contract awarded to protect our troops.
Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, will accelerate the development of ground-breaking protection for our defence force from chemical, biological and radiological agents, with an $8.6 million Defence Innovation Hub contract to further develop and commercialise its world-leading respirator technology.
This is the largest contract signed by the Hub to date and will help bring the technology a step closer to being realised.
The single canister device is a step change from existing technology, providing both protection for longer periods, and against more potential threats. As well as providing protection from biological and radiological agents, it will significantly reduce exposure to a broad spectrum of toxic industrial chemicals, also critical to the nation’s first responders.
CSIRO will be working with Melbourne-based chemical manufacturing business and porous material’s producer, Boron Molecular, and Brisbane-based, Veteran Owned EPE Trusted to Protect, to develop the respirator, as well as Monash University.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall, said Australian innovations that protect our Defence Force personnel are a critical part of maintaining a secure Australia and region.
“We are using science to create real-world solutions, working with Australian industry to build sovereign capability and turn brilliant ideas into something ground-breaking to protect our troops.
“We are aiming to develop a respirator that will be the most capable in the world.”
CSIRO researcher, Professor Matthew Hill, said CSIRO has been studying porous solids for around 10 years and has developed an efficient and cost-effective manufacturing process.
“By combining our expertise in nanofibers and porous solids, we’re developing a technology that will protect our military personnel from weaponised toxic chemical gases and vapours and give them a greater chance to safely complete their mission.”
Nanofibres are super-light filters that can stop particles from getting through, and combine nanofibers with some of the world’s most porous materials to soak up hazardous gases like a sponge. By incorporating porous materials into respirators, toxic industrial chemicals can be adsorbed before they affect the wearer.
Dr Oliver Hutt, CEO of Melbourne-based chemical manufacturing business and porous materials’ producer, Boron Molecular, said his company was excited to be involved in the development of the leading-edge sovereign Defence capability.
“We’ve worked with CSIRO for many years on various projects, but it’s particularly rewarding to be involved in the development of a technology that will help keep our military safe,” Dr Hutt said.
Brisbane-based and Australian Veteran Owned business, EPE Trusted To Protect, is the lead commercial partner on the project and is manufacturing the canisters.
EPE specialises in using advanced technologies to protect service personnel. From Bomb Response robots to Counter Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear capabilities, EPE bring unique skills and experience.
EPE’s Managing Director, Mr Warwick Penrose, said the team was looking forward to delivering the canisters to defence personnel and first responders.
“We are excited to work with CSIRO and Defence Science and Technology Group to ensure that the product produced is not just the best technologically but also operationally meets the needs of service personnel,” Mr Penrose said.
“Ultimately, we are excited by the prospect of getting this product protecting the service men and woman of Australia, our allies, as well as the first responder community.”
Monash University, a research partner on the project, will provide critical engineering expertise on the internal canister components.
Professor Mark Banaszak Holl, Head of Monash University’s Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, said his team was proud of the unique partnership with CSIRO to deliver practical solutions for Australia’s first responders.
The respirator technology featured at the ‘Academy Awards’ of Australian science in 2019, as a finalist in the Defence, Science and Technology Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia.
The Defence Innovation Hub has awarded its largest contract to date to Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to develop advanced respiratory protective equipment for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles, welcomed the $8.65 million investment with CSIRO, which is partnering with Brisbane-based small business EPE Trusted to Protect to deliver this cutting-edge innovation.
“This investment demonstrates the incredible ingenuity and impact of Australia’s innovation sector to create leading solutions for Defence, contributing to a strong, sovereign defence industry,” Deputy Prime Minister Marles said.
The technology uses metal organic material rather than carbon based absorbent material to provide more effective protection against a broader range of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) contaminants through the use of a single respiratory unit.
CSIRO will be working with Melbourne-based chemical manufacturing business and porous material’s producer, Boron Molecular, and Brisbane-based, Veteran Owned EPE Trusted to Protect, to develop the respirator, as well as Monash University.
Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic said Australian innovations that protect our Defence Force personnel are a critical part of maintaining a secure Australia and region.
“We are using science to create real-world solutions, working with Australian industry to build sovereign capability and turn brilliant ideas into something ground-breaking to protect ADF personnel,” Minister Husic said.
CSIRO’s unique, broad-spectrum respirator canister will aim to enhance defence capability by protecting military personnel for longer periods during missions involving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear contamination on the battlefield.
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.
EPE is very proud of our Partnerships with US companies who are investing in research and development to continuously improve the equipment and technologies available to protect those men and women who work in volatile environments while performing their duties in Law Enforcement, Peace Keeping, War Zones and Emergency Response.
EPE Director, Warwick Penrose and CBRN/EOD Specialist, Chris Panteli travelled today to the US to attend the IABTI (International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators) International Training Conference in Texas. While in the US they will also meet with a number of our US based Equipment Manufacturers for updates on new equipment developments and new technologies in countering IED and CBRN threats.
The IABTI Conference briefings are from International Experts and will focus on a number of case studies, including the Anders Breivik bombing and shooting in Oslo, Norway, and the Woodburn, Oregon bombing. Seminars will cover the range of specialist disciplines covered by Bomb Technicians and Investigators including: Explosive Charges for IEDD, X-Ray, Tactical Explosive Breaching, Person Borne Blast Measurements in Explosive Breaching and much more.
Name change is a reflection of the expansion of the solutions we offer.
Explosive Protective Equipment announces that we are refining our name to EPE to more accurately reflect our business strategy and diversification in the marketplace. It’s also the name we are commonly referred to by many of our existing customers and partners. We are excited to announce our new name to our customers and our global industry partners. The name change reflects our expansion beyond ‘explosive’ and ‘equipment’, while maintaining ‘EPE’ reinforces our commitment to build on 25 years of trusted supply to Australian Defence, Law Enforcement Agencies and other government organisations.
Over the last 3 years EPE has developed a strong reputation for providing ‘more than equipment’, delivering training, specialist staff support and equipment maintenance. An insight is articulated in a formal letter from the Australian Army following the completion of a 12 month training contract in 2012 ‘…I am writing to highlight the excellent performance and support that EPE has provided to The Australian Defence Force since June 2011. The operational requirements for Counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) operators in Afghanistan were both technically challenging and required EPE to deliver under the most demanding timelines. Their support to ADF operations was first rate and has undoubtedly saved lives. The project was completed in time, to budget and, in terms of deliverables, exceeded expectations.’
During this same period EPE has expanded beyond ‘Explosive’. We have developed from our core focus on Counter IED, EOD and Personal Protective Equipment, to establish strong momentum supporting broader Force Protection, ECM, CBRN Response, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Blue Force Tracking and Rapidly Deployable Shelter Systems capabilities.
We wish to advise that our name refinement is for branding purposes only. Our registered company name remains Zangold Pty Ltd trading as Explosive Protective Equipment. There will be no effect on Standing Offers with the Australian Government, contractual arrangements, import regulations etc. EPE’s company ownership, products, and services remain the same. All of your internal contacts within EPE also remain the same. The only change is to the branding of materials, which our customers see.
Last week the EPE product, Scimitar was launched in the UK by our Distribution Partner, Providence CTS at the Counter Terror Expo in London.
Born from an urgent operational requirement expressed by the Australian Defence Force in 2011 to improve bomb disposal operations in Afghanistan, EPE’s Scimitar is an information collection and fusion tool, which enhances tactical level situational awareness, mission and training analysis, and intelligence gathering.
EPE has partnered with Providence Counter Threat Solutions to represent Scimitar in the UK and European markets. While Scimitar started with military bomb disposal operations, its utility extends into law enforcement, emergency services, mining and many corporate applications where information is gathered from different sensors and sources. Until the arrival of Scimitar, tactical-level operators had to rely on several different means to manage task information. Scimitar exploits advances in technology to better capture, store, manipulate, fuse and disseminate multi-source information, including the live-streaming of data. It allows you to create an electronic record of a particular operational mission or event, or training scenario by overlaying sensor data streams inputted into the system. Data including geospatial, video or still imagery, audio, biometrics, dosimetry or any other data can be streamed onto an operational timeline for ease of current and future reference.
The Expo in London was visited by over 10,000 people and Scimitar received interest from UK MoD, UK Police, and first responder groups from Turkey, Netherlands, Bahrain, Slovakia, Hungary and Pakistan. Providence CTS were awarded a certificate as a finalist for CT Expo Excellence Awards for C-IED innovation at the Expo.
EPE is honoured to have been able to help this cause by partnering with Allen Vanguard in the donation of demining ensembles and equipment to improve protection for those performing this important and dangerous work.
Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) are a major problem in South East Asia, posing threat to human life and hindering development in affected areas. This documentary looks at how Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) are affecting Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, and highlights the efforts being made by local and international Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s) operating in this region, to assist dealing with the problem. Officially uploaded on April 4 – ‘International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action’. Stay tuned for the full length documentary to follow.
EPE staff last week attended Global Security Asia (GSA) 2013 in Singapore. GSA is the premier event focused on Counter Terrorism, Internal State Security, Civil Defence and Law Enforcement in the Asia Pacific region. The focus for EPEs attendance at GSA was to meet with Overseas Equipment Manufacturers who we have had very close partnerships with over the last fifteen years. It was a great opportunity to meet with our partners for updates on new technologies and product advancements.
The Australian Army’s Explosive Detection Dog capability received a big boost in 2012, courtesy of a successful 12-month K9 training contract delivered by EPE at the School of Military Engineering. Army now has 17 new Explosive Detection Dogs and two new Explosive Detection Dog Trainers.
The EPE team comprised six staff with over 100 years of K9 training and operational experience between them. Four of the staff were highly experienced, former Australian Army Explosive Detection Dog trainers. The other two team members joined us from the UK – one member was a former lead K9 trainer from Surrey Police in the UK, and the other member was a former British Forces’ lead K9 capability manager.
The first six months focused on the training of 20 dogs in accordance with the Australian Army’s off-lead Explosive Detection Dog competency requirements. The breadth of training included building search, area search, route search, and vehicle search. 11 of the 20 dogs were successfully certified. Most of the unsuccessful dogs were removed during the early stages of training.
The second six months required the EPE team to re-team the 11 certified dogs with their new Army handlers, as well as leading the delivery of the annual Explosive Detection Dog Supervisor’s Course. This course produced another six Explosive Detection Dogs, bringing the overall total to 17 new dogs. Many of these Explosive Detection Dogs will serve in Afghanistan.
In addition to training, EPE also provided the Australian Army with new portable K9 kennels and specifically designed K9 handler kits.
EPE is proud to have been an integral part of the Australian Army’s effort to reinforce its Explosive Detection Dog capability – a capability which continues to prove its effectiveness and importance, detecting lethal Improvised Explosive Devices in Afghanistan.
2 Cameras / 1 Unit / Dual Views. Deploy the UDC Pro under a door or around a corner to see obstacles before entry. The 2-camera system provides forward and upward camera views, allowing operators to covertly inspect both the interior of a room and the interior side of the door. Switch between views on the wireless PRO Monitors.
PRO Monitors: wirelessly toggle camera views. Designed exclusively for dual view cameras, the PRO Monitors allow wireless toggling between the forward and upward camera angles of the UDC Pro.
Telescoping Deployment Pole. Quickly deploy the telescoping pole with the UDC Pro to gain reach and remain behind a position of cover. The telescoping pole can also be retrofitted for the earlier Under Door Camera UDC4 version.
EPE has once again been named in the Top 20 Australia/NZ owned SME Defence Suppliers List published by Australian Defence Magazine (ADM). EPE is proud to support the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces through the provision of leading edge equipment, maintenance and training. For the last ten years EPE has been at the forefront of providing EOD, CIED and Force Protection ECM capability to the Australian Defence Force. We have a long track record of successfully supporting battle-proven technologies that deliver comprehensive and sustainable capability against evolving threats, as well as delivering Rapid Acquisition projects to Defence.
EPE Maintenance Manager Dean Dickson, and Maintenance Engineer, Dayne Hawkes, have successfully completed advanced training in the field of Radiation Safety. The training was provided by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation(ANSTO), the premier training provider of radiation training in the Oceania region.
The training was conducted at ANSTO’s Open Pool Australian Lightwater Reactor Facility (OPAL) in Lucas Heights, Sydney. This is home to the only active nuclear reactor in in the Oceania region. Here they compounded their skill sets in numerous disciplines, including: Radiation Safety Theory, Radiation Working Practices and Methods to deal with Radiation Emergencies. These skills will add to the extensive knowledge our maintenance team already have in Non Destructive Testing and Industrial Radiography, in order to provide a world class maintenance service to our customers.
HAL Tactical: What is it?
The HAL Tactical Kit is a lightweight man-portable Hook and Line kit that is based on Modular Equipment Packs (MEPs) to support operations where a full sized Hook and Line kit is not an option. The HAL Tactical is designed for during Tactical, SWAT, Route Clearance, IEDD and other missions involving explosive threats.
The Core System is based on a Leg Pouch mounted to the thigh and contains 3 Modular Equipment Packs: Line; Basic Clamps & Manipulators; and, an Anchor. Users can then enhance this with up to 8 Specialty MEPs: Advanced Clamp; Visibility; Basic Reach; Guidance; Multi-tool; Demining; Grappling Hook; and Bi-pod & Extended Reach. This allows users to customize their Kit at time of order and then select the exact Modular Equipment Packs that are most relevant to their operational needs for a given mission. All of the components have been designed to minimize size and weight but still provide excellent functional capabilities.
EPE currently has the first Demo Kit in Australia to demonstrate to end users in January and February of 2013.
We are very excited by the positive comments from end users from the US, Canada and Australia who have seen prototypes of the Kits. The quality and capabilities of the HAL Tactical make it very competitive.
Today the Theme at the EPE Booth covers Training; Threat Analysis/ Portal; K9 Training and Equipment; and ECM. Our team will be demonstrating the NEW Scimitar Tactical Mission and Training Analysis Tool.
Also on display:
Scorpion Man Portable ECM
Equniox Vehicle Mounted ECM
Complete K9 Capability including dogs, K9 and Handler Training, K9 Protection and Equipment.
The Summer Ball will be a very special event with many troops arriving home from deployment. EPE has worked closely with 2CER over the past 18 months with OHR, BiP and EDD Training, and is happy to support the Regiment through sponsorship of the Summer Ball. We wish you all a great night.
Explosive Protective Equipment (EPE) announces that Counter Terrorism Solutions (CTS) has been merged into Explosive Protective Equipment. Both companies are owned by Warwick Penrose, and all business previously conducted by CTS will now be conducted by EPE. The same team will continue to provide the same high level of service and expert product knowledge on the CTS products – the RAZOR III, RAZOR EX, Film Array and RSDL. The CBRN Product Line Manager is Chris Panteli, who can be contacted on 0411 598 338.
Further, we take this opportunity to advise you that Idaho Technology has changed it’s name to BioFire Diagnostics Inc. BioFire develops innovative solutions for BioSurveillance and molecular diagnostics. EPE remains the Australian distributor for BioFire delivering the leading edge technologies including RAZOR EX and Film Array into the Australian first responder community.
Dr Aris Makris joins EPE at LWC this week. Aris is Vice President of Research and Development from Allen-Vanguard. Aris specialises in explosions and protection against blast effects. He has led numerous programs geared towards design and development of advanced personal protective systems to protect against IEDs, including the EOD 7B, 8 & 9 generation bomb suits, as well as, blast mitigation seats for mitigating injuries to military vehicle occupants subjected to IEDs. Aris and his team at Allen Vanguard have developed a number of person borne blast sensors to assist in quantifying individual blast exposure under diverse operational circumstances and guide improvements in design, medical understanding and optimization of SOPs . Dr. Makris has been an active member of several equipment performance standards, including the NIJ Bomb Suit standard, NATO and UN working groups.
Aris is presenting a paper at LWC on Person Borne Blast Dosimeters.
Visit us at LWC in Melbourne 30 October to 2 November. All the EPE team will be there and we look forward to catching up. EPE is at Area 27. This year we’ll have a range of new capabilities on display. Areas of focus include: Lightweight EOD Solutions – including the new Med-Eng TAC6, HAL Tactical, Lightweight Disruptors, latest in UGVs Tactical and ISR – featuring the latest technologies from Tactical Electronics including UAV, tactical camers. Plus new technology in Situational Command and Control. CBRN and Deployable Shelter Systems – Biodetection, Decon Shelter Systems. Canine – our complete canine offering for Law Enforcement and Military Working Dogs
Warwick Penrose, Director and Dean Dickson, Tactical and ISR Manager have just spent a week in the US finalising the Teaming arrangement with our Strategic partner for this market – ‘ Tactical Electronics’ (TE). TE has a long history with the US DOD, particularly the Special Forces Community, and other Federal and State Law Enforcement Agencies providing niche EOD and Tactical solutions . TE will utilise their relationships and existing contracts with these clients to assist with launching Scimitar Tactical into the US market. Warwick and Dean spent time in the US further developing the channel partner relationship, finalising integration of the platform with TE sensors, understanding US end user requirements, and training their key staff on the Scimitar Tactical Platform.
Scimitar Tactical has been developed by EPE in response to a capability gap identified by ADF. Scimitar Tactical is employed to capture, store, manipulate and fuse multi-source information, to provide users with a detailed, multiple-view record of events, allowing complex operational and training analysis, as well as for evidentiary collection. It provides a unique capability to seamlessly integrate multiple sensors into a readable timeline of events. Following delivery of the earlier version to ADF, EPE have further developed the product, which is now ready to launch into the US market.
EPE represents the full range of the TE capability into the Australian and New Zealand Market. Their capability fits very well into the solutions that EPE provides. They lead the market in what they do in their development and supply of innovative equipment and training solutions, which is something readily transferrable to our Australian Military and Law Enforcement counterparts.
EPE will be launching Scimitar Tactical to the US market at Modern Day Marine Conference to be held at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia from September 25 to 27 2012. EPE is a member of the Team Defence Australia contingent exhibiting at Modern Day Marine.
Great photos of Colin Walker, previously OIC of the Surry Police Dog Training School in UK. Colin is now in Australia and works for EPE as an Instructor for a Contract providing support to the Army Explosive Detection Dog capability. Photos show a Bite Dog ‘playing’ with Colin.
EPE congratulates Sergeant Jodie Pearson as the current recipient of ACWAP’s (Australian Council of Women and Policing) most prestigious award, the Bev Lawson Memorial. Jodie is a Bomb Technician from Western Australia Police TRG BRU (Tactical Response Group Bomb Response Unit). She is highly regarded across the nation and is recognised as being one of the most senior and proficient Bomb Technicians in Australia. She has had extensive involvement in policing operations around the nation including the Sydney 2000 Olympics and CHOGM. The Bev Lawson Award recognises an outstanding woman in Policing who has been a first in their field or endeavour; made a significant contribution in that field; and encouraged and paved the way for other women to follow. Jodie’s selection to join the Tactical Response Group and train as a Bomb Technician has been ground breaking for women in Australian policing.
Photo shows Jodie wearing one of WAPOL BRU’s new EOD Tactical Suits, which is manufactured by Allen Vanguard and distributed in Australia by EPE. The new lightweight suit offers unprecedented flexibility combined with extensive protection against impact, overpressure and fragmentation. Check out the suit at www.epequip.com. For visual of the modularity of the suit click here.
Explosive Protective Equipment (EPE) was approached by WA Police Bomb Response Unit (WAPOL BRU) in 2011 with a request to source equipment to support their donation to Cambodian Self Help Deminers (CSHD).