Sensor Systems

High Altitude Sensor Systems (HASS)

DMTC’s High Altitude Sensor Systems (HASS) Program will enhance Australian defence capability and build industrial capacity in sensor and on-board data processing technology for unmanned aerial systems and small-satellite platforms.

The investment from CSIRO of $2.7 million will create, through the DMTC’s co-investment model, a total program value of more than $6 million over three to five years.

On 28 March the Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, announced that the first of the HASS projects had commenced. Read the release here.

The project – involving new DMTC partners Seaskip Pty Ltd and UNSW Sydney’s Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) – aims to develop miniaturised, high frequency sensor systems for deployment on cubesats and other unmanned aerial platforms, advancing passive radar technologies related to the processing of both line-of-sight and reflected GPS signals in real time. The initial application of this technology could enable Defence to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles to accurately estimate sea-state conditions, leading to improved safety, speed and fuel consumption for Navy vessels.

The second project to commence will advance the development of compact hyperspectral imaging sensors. These developments are expected to significantly improve the military utility of hyperspectral sensor systems; currently-fielded systems do not yet sufficiently meet all three capability expectations with respect to

  • off-nadir observing (that is, looking at angular views rather than directly below the platform’s position)
  • real-time image and information processing, and
  • being sufficiently compact (weighing 5kg or less) in order to be deployed on a small platform.

Compact hyperspectral sensors could be deployed on cubesat (miniaturised) satellites or small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

This second project involves New South Wales-based company HyVista Pty Ltd in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney, and the Defence Science & Technology (DST) Group within the Australian Department of Defence. The initial focus of effort will be on development and testing of prototype systems and data processing algorithms.

Projects selected for High Altitude Sensor Systems – Phase One*

Partner Organisations Description of Project
HyVista Pty Ltd, University of Technology Sydney, Defence Science & Technology (DST) Group Hyperspectral: Compact, spatially agile spectral sensor
SkyKraft Pty Ltd, CSIRO, Australian National University, University of NSW Hyperspectral: Cubesat hyperspectral sensor for maritime / ocean monitoring
A.W. Bell Pty Ltd, La Trobe University, CSIRO, University of NSW Materials & Manufacturing: Advanced Manufacturing of Cubesat Sensor Components
Seaskip Pty Ltd, University of NSW High Frequency Sensors: Cubesat imaging radar

*Note: Subject to final negotiation and execution of contracts.

DMTC is actively seeking opportunities to expand the program in the near and longer term [this relates to both opportunities to build the base by attracting investment from Defence and other sources, but also to the potential to increase contributions to the program by adding new partners to existing activities as the projects mature].

See additional background information here.