New role for researchers in ensuring a combat ready defence force

HMAS Perth – an Anzac-class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy. Photo courtesy Saab Australia.

Saab and UniSA will collaborate on the design of new combat consoles for Australia’s fleet of submarines and ships.

The Advertiser, 30 January 2018
The Advertiser, 30 January 2018

The collaboration will bring together Saab’s experience in design and knowledge of high performance consoles for combat management with UniSA’s industrial design and human factors expertise. This will be facilitated through the Saab Australia-UniSA Defence Technologies Institute, located in a new purpose-built wing at Saab’s Mawson Lakes Headquarters.

Saab Australia has been selected to provide the combat management system and tactical interfaces for all ships in the Royal Australian Navy.

UniSA’s Director of Defence, Matt Opie, says it’s a great example of collaboration “between industry and academia to design and deliver enhanced capabilities to the Australian Defence Force”.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham says Saab and UniSA’s collaboration is also skilling up the next generation of South Australians to take advantage of the jobs boom from the $89 billion naval shipbuilding investment.

“This highlights the potential of what some of the brightest minds in our universities can achieve when they team up with cutting-edge businesses to solve the challenges industry faces,” Birmingham says.

UniSA students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields have been working with Saab to build industry experience that will equip them for careers in defence.

A current generation combat console.A current generation combat console.

Saab has hosted projects for students from Engineering, IT, Maths and Sciences, varying from single semester to yearlong honours’ projects. UniSA researchers with Saab are exploring augmented and virtual reality, and human centred solutions for combat readiness.

UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Professor Tanya Monro says the partnership with Saab benefits students and the University’s research.

“Not only does it give us the opportunity to take our research expertise in virtual reality, systems engineering, human factors, and apply it to really important projects for Australian defence, but it gives us the chance to expose our students to a world-class working environment and really inspire them to build their careers here in Australia,” she says.

Saab Australia managing director Andy Keough says the partnership with UniSA “will build a skilled, technologically savvy workforce with defence capabilities” for future generations.