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Defence establishes National EW Centre at Flinders Uni

A RAAF P-8A Poseidon with its weapons bay doors open. According to DST, however, EW is ‘the weapon of least regret’. Photo: Defence

Flinders University will establish a new National Electronic Warfare Centre (NEWC) under a five-year, $5 million initiative jointly funded by the University and the Department of Defence. The centre will use training programs and research to develop and sustain Electronic Warfare (EW) related skills in Defence and grow Australia’s EW workforce, the Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, said on 6 March.

She said Defence is investing some $20 billion over the next decade in EW capabilities for the ADF. The new centre will provide the ADF with strategic and tactical advantages, to keep pace with the evolving operating environment. “Key to ensuring these capabilities are fit-for-purpose is a strong workforce, comprised of practitioners and researchers across the ADF, Australian Public Service, academia and industry,” she said.

The partnership between Defence and Flinders University will see the establishment of a Chair of EW at the university’s Tonsley Campus in southern Adelaide. The Chair will provide leadership in the establishment of Flinders University as a world-leading provider of education and research in EW and establish and deliver within Flinders University a range of significant joint R&D activities that will explore potential and emerging disruptive technologies related to EW, says the university. Undergraduate and post-graduate courses in EW will commence in 2021.

At the same time, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Flinders University, DST, Defence’s Joint Capabilities Group and Adelaide-based EW firm DEWC to drive impactful research and deliver education and training to build an EW workforce that is equipped to support the national interest.

DEWC T&E CEO Glenn Murray said, “This strategic partnership will build on our shared expertise in delivering EW-related skills fundamental to building a workforce capable of supporting major defence projects, the Australian Defence Force and defence industry nationally.

“The partnership will utilise DEWC’s School of Information Operations EW expertise to support the building and delivery of education and training,” he aded.

The Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro, said this initiative exemplifies Defence’s strategy of co-investing with universities and industry to grow research capacity and training pathways in identified areas of national priority.

“The establishment of an EW Chair at Flinders University will leverage our research expertise, contribute to strengthening Australia’s sovereign defence capability and is a further example of our approach to building a skilled workforce to meet the current and emerging needs of the defence sector,” according to Flinders University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Colin Stirling.

Recruitment for the Chair will begin immediately, and new undergraduate and post graduate courses in Electromagnetic Systems and Security are being developed that will complement and include topics from Flinders University’s strong programs in Cybersecurity.

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