A Canberra business developing new equipment for Australian soldiers stationed overseas has been awarded a multi-million dollar defence contract.
Kord Defence has been given a $3.4 million contract from the federal government to create new push-button technology for defence force personnel.
The technology will allow ADF members to control electronic devices on their body or weapons without having to take their eyes off potential target or their hands off equipment.
Kord’s managing director Peter Moran said it was hoped the project would be complete by 2022 and would then be rolled out.
“Soldiers have a lot of electronics they control as part of their task at hand, but the electronics on their body are causing them to take their hands off and drop their eyes to look at the controls,” Mr Moran said,
“It can then take seconds to re-engage a target, and that can mean the difference between life and death.”
Mr Moran said the technology was being developed to be integrated into military items such as heads-up displays for soldiers.
“What we are developing is a controller that can be built into a number of buttons on weapons and it can control a range of different accessories, almost a bit like a game controller,” he said.
It’s the second time the Fyshwick-based company has received a federal grant as part of the Defence Innovation Hub, with the first being awarded in 2017.
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said Kord’s previous grant of $635,000 focused on technology that would then become a precursor to the devices now under development.
“It is great to see Kord working to help soldiers more effectively control a wide range of connected electronic devices using Bluetooth technology through the company’s innovative wireless control system,” Ms Price said.
“This innovation has great potential to make existing systems more soldier friendly and improve situational awareness for our soldiers deployed in the modern battlefield.”
The Defence Innovation Hub has awarded more than $270 million worth of grants since it was established in late 2016.
Mr Moran said Kord had also been awarded contracts to test their new developments with the US Marine Corps.
“We have had the interest from other militaries around the world,” he said.
“There are lot of common things such as the US Marines and the Australian Army and there are common requirements but they have different weapons platforms to control.”
The next few months will see Kord undertake testing and development of the new technology before it moves into production.
“We have our sights set on seeing the technology rolled out into the Australian military and at the same time see that tech being deployed with the US military,” Mr Moran said.
“The hub gives the ability to look at how this can be integrated across the whole of the army.”