Historic agreement with US to advance defence research

Flinders University has become the first Australian university to join forces with a key United States Navy research centre, in a history-making partnership which will boost South Australia’s defence research capability.

The landmark Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Naval Undersea Warfare Centre (NUWC) Division Newport marks a significant step forward in advancing collaborative research between the United States and Australia in the field of undersea technology.

NUWC Division Newport is the US Navy’s full-spectrum research, development, test and evaluation, engineering, and fleet support centre for submarine warfare systems and other systems associated with the undersea battlespace.

Under the terms of the CRADA, Flinders University and NUWC commit to working together to identify and collaborate on cutting-edge research projects and initiatives related to undersea technology.

The historic collaboration will enable Flinders University’s world-class researchers and NUWC Division Newport’s undersea experts to combine their complementary skills, capabilities, and technologies to address critical Navy challenges and opportunities at an accelerated pace.

The CRADA opens opportunities for Flinders University researchers to develop rapid solutions, future partnerships, skills exchange, and opportunities for impactful on-site training to develop expertise in undersea technology, contributing to the advancement of Australian and US joint interests.

The pioneering agreement is a significant step in fostering closer US-Australia research cooperation on the largest infrastructure investment in Australia’s history and signifies South Australia’s strategic position at the heart of Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding program, including both AUKUS pillars.

Some 5,500 direct jobs will be created to build the SSN-AUKUS submarines in South Australia when the program reaches its peak in 20 to 30 years.

With headquarters in Rhode Island, NUWC Division Newport is a leading US defence agency with more than 3,500 employees, a budget of over US$1.5 billion, and operations in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas.

Premier Peter Malinauskas announced the agreement at Outer Harbour.

“Building ships and submarines in our state will deliver thousands of jobs at Osborne. But this endeavour is about more than cutting steel.”

“This research partnership is exactly what we’re seeking — more highly educated South Australians doing more complicated and interesting work in a way that builds the overall complexity of our economy.”

“That will deliver us a higher standard of living for our state.”

“I congratulate Flinders University on its leadership in seizing on the opportunity presented to our state by the AUKUS partnership,” Mr Malinauskas said

Deputy Premier Susan Close, Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling and Premier Peter Malinauskas announcing the CRADA.

Flinders University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said the CRADA is an important milestone in the US-Aust defence research relationship.

“Our partnership with NUWC Division Newport signifies a new era in undersea technology research, where the best minds from Australia and the United States will join forces to address critical challenges and opportunities.”

“Flinders is proud to be at the forefront of advancing submarine defence capabilities in Australia. This landmark collaboration reinforces Flinders’ position as a global leader in underwater technologies and underscores our dedication to innovative research,” Professor Stirling said.

“We look forward to the transformative research outcomes and educational outcomes that will arise from this partnership,” he added.

NUWC Division Newport Chief Technology Officer Dr Jason Gomez welcomed the partnership.

“NUWC Newport is excited to enter into a Collaborative Research Agreement with Flinders University,” Dr Gomez said. 

“With the growing importance of the undersea domain, we are continuously looking to expand our research base and tap into the knowledge and talent of academia. Flinders University is a great partner and has a wide array of overlapping and complimentary research interests with NUWC.” 

“We look forward to establishing long lasting research collaborations that will provide both a technology development and expert workforce pipeline, to help provide an enduring foundation for the AUKUS agreement,” Dr Gomez said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Defence and Space Industries Susan Close acknowledged the benefits to the state.

“Flinders University is internationally recognised as a leader in advanced manufacturing, and this partnership has the potential to deliver more highly skilled jobs in our state as we prepare to deliver AUKUS submarines.”

“This new partnership builds upon relationships that Flinders University has already established to become a home of international nuclear expertise'” Ms Close said.

About NUWC Division Newport 

NUWC Division Newport is the oldest warfare center in the United States of America, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher’s Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.

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