The Australian government has invested A$7.35 million in a veteran-owned NSW company’s project to support the development of its next-generation, high-performance watercraft. Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price welcomed the investment in The Whiskey Project, one of the biggest from the government’s Defence Innovation Hub. “This sort of investment in Australian defence industry is critical to growing a sustainable and globally competitive sovereign defence industry,” Price said.
The Whiskey Project integrates cutting-edge technologies and a highly innovative hull form in the design of its new tactical watercraft. Existing forms of tactical watercraft, like Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs), are used by the Royal Australia Navy to provide high-speed interception and boarding capability. The small maritime design and manufacturing firm’s watercraft will incorporate composite material technology and a novel ‘sea blade’ hull that provides enhanced stability, and reduced shock and vibration, that could be adapted to meet multiple Defence needs.
“This investment will support The Whiskey Project’s development of local naval design and manufacturing know-how that translates to an advantage for the Australian Defence Force and strengthens our performance in maritime operations,” Price said. “Investments like this are an example of the Morrison Government’s commitment to nurturing Australian defence innovation, while supporting veteran-owned businesses who bring the expertise and experience to solve Defence’s tactical and strategic challenges.”
Industry and research organisations can submit innovation proposals through the Defence Innovation Portal at www.innovationhub.defence.gov.au.
Darren Schuback, managing director and co-founder of the Whiskey Project Group, said, “In 2019 we were honoured to have the Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price launch our first Whiskey watercraft – Whiskey Alpha 85 – at the Pacific International Maritime Expo, and today marks another significant commitment from the Commonwealth to support Australian defence industry SMEs and the innovators and visionaries who are determined to provide Australia with a competitive advantage. We are deeply grateful to the Minister for Defence Industry and her office, for their unwavering commitment to The Whiskey Project’s vision to create next generation tactical watercraft that will provide optimal performance and protection for those who risk their lives in the strategic maritime environment. Significantly our Whiskey watercraft are designed in Australia and built in Australia by Australian regional manufacturers. They demonstrate effect-centric design thinking of true innovation, and will provide Australia and our Defence personnel with a capability advantage, a human performance advantage and a sovereign advantage. The Whiskey Project Group are very proud to be playing a role in securing the future of Australia’s small watercraft sovereign industrial capability, and we are delighted to be partnering with Defence to deliver this new capability for Australia.”