The criticality of sovereign Counter-CBRNE capabilities

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) continues to invest in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) capabilities, counter-measures and autonomous systems, with a number of strategic procurements being progressed. As a key partner to Defence across the air, land and sea domains, QinetiQ is continuing to invest in the Counter-CBRNE technologies space.

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It’s a space that often flies under the radar, and it is one in which QinetiQ has been a significant player. Notably, our colleagues in QinetiQ North America are the developers and manufacturers of the TALON® family of Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs). Since its introduction in 2000, the TALON family has earned a reputation for durability, flexibility, modularity and performance in military, law enforcement and first responder applications. TALON® with its associated tools and capabilities, is the world leading UGV with more than 3,800 Systems deployed worldwide.

Another QinetiQ North America UGV, the Dragon Runner™ 10 is a modular, lightweight, compact, multi-mission remote platform developed for supporting small unit dismounted operations. The Dragon Runner™ 20 is uniquely suited to support Explosive Ordnance Detection/Improvised Explosive Device reconnaissance, security, military operations and first responder applications.

Australian Counter-CBRNE Expertise

QinetiQ is committed to contributing to developing sovereign Counter-CBRNE capabilities and continues to promote related research, development and innovation in Australia. Examples of this include the provision of advisory services for the Commonwealth of Australia in the fields of CBRN Warning and Reporting System Concept Demonstrator, Simulation Support for EOD Training, and Development of UGV and UAS to support CBRN detection and counter-IED activities.

Additionally, QinetiQ Australia recently sent a senior contingent on a fact finding and engagement tour of Europe and the UK, ensuring that we sponsor knowledge transfer within the global QinetiQ Group and offer contemporary understanding and market intelligence to our Australian customers.

At the 8th Annual NCT Europe CBRNE exhibition, hosted at the Netherlands Defense CBRN Centre within Bredero Barracks, civil and military first responders and industry discussed recent technological advancements, inter-company collaboration, global interoperability and showcased the latest in equipment, training and expertise. The conference was attended by a QinetiQ Australia contingent, as well as Military, academia, First Responders, NATO representatives and Defence Industry.

QinetiQ’s Michael Walas identified three key outcomes from the conference.

“Firstly, meeting OEMs and cementing that network was crucial. Secondly, observing the CBRN training and exercises – a unique concentration of equipment and systems being utilised, energised and demonstrated within a bespoke training facility. Thirdly, talking though the contemporary issues driving investment, R&D, threats and the dynamic challenges that need to be addressed in order to support Operators.”

As part of the trip, our team visited various QinetiQ UK sites for tours and briefs on their capability, including:

  • Autonomous Systems: The UGV and Unmanned Aerial Systems (such as CBRN standoff detection systems - Longcross UGV platform and the TALON® HAZMAT variant)
  • Decontamination systems: Individual decontamination, equipment storage and transport
  • Research and Development: Including Forensic Collection, metallic and non-metallic detection, Device Disruption and Disablement, Blast/Fragmentation Containment, Personal Chemical Detection and Protective equipment.

Activities such as this are crucial to advancing industry and boosting the capabilities available to our armed forces. As an industry, it is imperative that we promote knowledge and technology transfer locally and globally. It is this sharing of knowledge that will allow counter-CBRNE experts in Australia to contribute to the sovereign capabilities of the ADF.

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