In a groundbreaking move that underscores the growing international defence collaboration, South Australia’s Flinders University has inked a historic agreement with the Naval Undersea Warfare Centre (NUWC) Division Newport, marking the first Australian university to partner with a leading US Navy research entity. This Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is set to significantly enhance the defense research capabilities of both nations, particularly in the realm of undersea technology.
The NUWC Division Newport, a cornerstone of the US Navy’s research and development for submarine warfare systems, is now aligned with Flinders University’s world-class researchers. Together, they will tackle cutting-edge projects and initiatives aimed at addressing critical challenges within the undersea battlespace. This partnership is not just about combining expertise; it’s a strategic move to accelerate the pace of innovation and solution development in submarine defence technologies.
Premier Peter Malinauskas supported the partnership, stating, “Building ships and submarines in our state will deliver thousands of jobs at Osborne. But this endeavour is about more than cutting steel.” He emphasised the broader economic impact, “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.”
The Deputy Premier and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Susan Close MP, also highlighted the significance of this partnership for job creation and skill development in South Australia as the region prepares to deliver AUKUS submarines. “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,” she remarked.
The CRADA is not only a testament to the collaborative spirit between the United States and Australia but also a nod to South Australia’s strategic role in the continuous naval shipbuilding program, including the AUKUS pillars. It is expected to generate approximately 5,500 direct jobs in South Australia over the next two to three decades.
Flinders University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling expressed pride in the university’s role at the forefront of submarine defense capabilities. “Our partnership with NUWC Division Newport signifies a new era in undersea technology research,” he said. “This landmark collaboration reinforces Flinders’ position as a global leader in underwater technologies and underscores our dedication to innovative research.”
Dr. Jason Gomez, Chief Technology Officer at NUWC Division Newport, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the mutual benefits of the collaboration. “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,” he said. “Flinders University is a great partner and has a wide array of overlapping and complimentary research interests with NUWC.”
This partnership is poised to deliver transformative research and educational outcomes, further cementing the relationship between the two nations in the field of defence and opening up new avenues for technological advancements and expert workforce development. As the oldest warfare centre in the USA, NUWC Division Newport, commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, brings a rich heritage and a wealth of experience to the table, promising a future of innovative defense solutions and a strengthened alliance.