An innovative Tasmanian business that produces engines for drones has been awarded a $150,000 government grant to help it crack the American market, writes Stephen Kuper.
Defence Minister Melissa Price said Currawong Engineering would use the money to purchase specialist plant equipment so it can increase electronics production capability for parts used in unmanned aerial vehicles.
Currawong Engineering produces UAV engines for both military and commercial purposes. Its first major product was the Corvid-29 engine powertrain system, which included a custom induction system, fuel injection system, low-noise exhaust and power supply.
Currawong also offers specialist machining services and engineering design consulting services to local and international customers.
Senator for Tasmania Jonathon Duniam described the Tasmanian SME as a “trusted supplier” in the defence and security market, adding that the funding boost would enable Currawong to expand its distribution network.
“The grant will assist Currawong to increase production and deliver capability with shorter lead times, boosting its export opportunities into North America,” Senator Duniam said.
“Currawong has established itself as a world-leader in engines for UAVs, and I’m proud to be backing this innovative, Tasmanian business.”
Minister Price said the provision of the export grant was further evidence of the government’s commitment to helping the local industry establish a foothold in global markets.
“The Defence Global Competitiveness Grant program is a key element of the Morrison government’s program to grow exports, delivering a robust sovereign Australian defence industry,” Minister Price said.
Currawong is the latest among several SMEs to receive the grant, joining the likes of RUAG Australia, Valley Precise Global, Advanced Navigation, EM Solutions, Heat Treatment Australia, IntelliDesign, ImmersaView, Pivot Maritime International and Fivecast.
In August, Australian Aviation reported how the government is set to invest $1.3 billion in a new drone development program.
The Maritime UAS (unmanned aircraft system) Continuous Development program aims to give Australia leading-edge maritime surveillance capabilities.
According to Minister Reynolds, that objective ties in directly to departmental requirements of such capabilities to better understand and adapt to the rapidly changing maritime domain.
“As detailed in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, launched by the Prime Minister and I in July, Australia is at the centre of a dynamic strategic environment,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Now, more than ever, Defence requires an agile acquisition strategy to take advantage of state-of-the-art technology.
“This acquisition heralds a new intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting capability for Defence to ensure Australia keeps pace in this rapidly developing technology domain.”