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Managing risk & making better decisions in tech development ecosystems

“Walk before you run” – A better approach to program design

An enhanced approach to program development in DMTC is resulting in smarter engagement with prospective industry and research partners, faster transition from development to implementation and more strategic deployment of resources.
The more rigorous approach, outlined at DMTC’s annual conference in March, was successfully implemented in a project recently completed within DMTC’s Maritime Program.
Research partner Swinburne University joined forces with Adelaide-based industry partner AirSpeed to conduct a scoping review on the effect of impact resistance on the durability of composite structures in the marine environment.
The project team scrutinised existing academic literature along with existing technical solutions, and went on to benchmark current Australian industry capability and identify prospective industry and research partners that could be involved in follow-on projects.
DMTC’s Maritime Program Leader, Associate Professor Stephen van Duin, is upbeat about the results.
“Defence projects are often described as a long game, but it’s also true that the early phases of a program or project are often the most critical to long-term success,” he said.
“In this case, we’ve spent five or six months making sure we have a really good understanding of the technical risks and opportunities, which will help us as we move forward.”

Deepak Ganga

Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) Annual Conference

As DMTC’s Lead Program Manager Deepak Ganga explains, scoping and de-risking activities, like this one with Swinburne and AirSpeed, are all about helping the DMTC Management Team and Board to make better decisions.
“There will be times when these early investigations lead us to decide not to pursue new projects. That’s actually a successful outcome in terms of avoiding wasted effort or mis-directed investments,” Deepak says.
“Particularly in areas where the technical risk is higher, we can use a relatively quick project task to better understand the technical issues and to prove our assumption before making a more significant investment.
“In this case it’s about answering questions like ‘What is the current state of the development of marine composites? What technical improvements can be made and what are the risks involved with moving along the TRL path? What would a new project, or suite of projects, look like?’.”
“All of this knowledge helps us to make higher-confidence estimates about development of the technology and about hitting the milestones we set for capability, cost and time.”

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Australian industry on an upward trajectory

In a recent Manufacturers Monthly article, DMTC CEO Mark Hodge, the Head of Australia’s Joint Strike Fighter Program AVM Gordon, and BAE Systems Australia’s Aerospace Director Steve Drury discussed the JSF Program opening opportunities for Australian industry.

With production volumes increasing and the F-35 Program’s Global Support System maturing, defence and industry will continue to work closely together to optimise Australian industry participation in the F-35 Program.

“There are some challenges ahead, which means Australian industry will have to stay internationally competitive by improving efficiency; driving innovation, supporting skills development and maintaining quality,” AVM Gordon said.

By looking at both domestic and export opportunities – within both the defence sector and other related sectors – programs such as the JSF are “absolutely critical to clarifying the global competitiveness benchmarks” if SMEs are going to thrive, according to the DMTC.

“It’s long been understood that companies from SMEs right through to primes need a diversified base to thrive,” Dr Hodge said.

“The Australian Government’s commitment to the defence sector is certainly very welcome and it’s now a case of the rubber hitting the road as all of the promises in the suite of White Paper, Industry Policy Statement and the Integrated Investment Program documents start to come to fruition.”

The full article is available here.

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Technology development & foresighting

DMTC chief executive Mark Hodge joined Defence Connect podcast host Phil Tarrant for a wide-ranging discussion on the Australian defence industry and the future of collaborative technology development.  The pair discussed DMTC’s transition to a proven industrial capability partner for Defence, and the current portfolio of projects DMTC is taking on to further develop the technological capabilities of the Australian defence industry.

Defence Connect Podcast – 18 May

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