Syndetic one of 8 Queensland SMEs working with Boeing Defence Australia on world-first technology

Scott Leishmann

Eight Queensland small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been engaged to provide systems engineering support, and to develop and manufacture hardware for Boeing Defence Australia’s hi-tech remotely piloted aircraft project.

Boeing Defence Australia was awarded $1 million through the Advance Queensland Platform Technology Program to develop and build an advanced airspace awareness system hardware prototype.

This world-first technology will enable the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) to inspect and capture critical data on natural resource infrastructure. The new technology will have a myriad of applications, from LNG, agriculture, mining, energy, telecommunications, to search and rescue and environmental management.

In a media release, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the technology is being deployed to the Surat Basin to support expansion of RPAS operations across Queensland’s natural gas resources industry.

“This progress cements Queensland’s reputation as Australia’s leading player in developing civilian UAS technologies and of growing new innovative technology in Queensland. Unmanned aircraft are safer and much more efficient in carrying out sweeps of natural resource infrastructure, including wellheads, than manned aircraft and ground inspection crews. By enabling them to work across large areas and in remote locations, you really start to increase their value significantly,” Ms Enoch said.

“By drawing on the capabilities of a big enterprise like Boeing, our Advance Queensland investment is multiplied both in matched investment and in the ability to deliver flow-on benefits for Queensland SMEs, providing them with access to potential international export opportunities as part of Boeing’s global supply chain.”

According to Boeing Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific President Maureen Dougherty, this collaboration is another milestone in the 90-year relationship between Boeing and Australia.

“We greatly appreciate the support of our project partners, the innovative Queensland businesses and the Queensland Government that made the development of this technology a reality,” Dougherty said.

“The growth of RPAS technology globally presents a great opportunity for Queensland and the state is naturally well positioned with large open areas to further support development of these technologies,” added Director of Boeing Phantom Works International Dr Shane Arnott.

Some of the companies included in the project are Brisbane’s Fastel Communications, RF Technologies and Syndetic.