ecagroup image sevenThe Australian government has signed a $46 million contract with a Queensland company to manufacture up to 80 new explosive ordnance disposal robots for Australia’s sailors, soldiers and aviators. The new robots, to be manufactured by L3Harris Micreo, will carry cameras and sensors that have an improved ability to find, examine and neutralise improvised explosive devices and explosive hazards.

The technology will keep Australian personnel as safe as possible when operating in the field, replacing the current in-service robots, which were used in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The government is working closely with Australia’s defence industry, including small to medium enterprises as well as the defence primes, to both build defence capability and create local jobs, including in Queensland.

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy made the announcement on a visit to Cairns, which is set to benefit from the government’s growing investment in defence. The government is investing $3.8 billion over four years to strengthen Australia’s northern bases, in response to the Defence Strategic Review. This includes upgrades and development of critical airbases, and maritime estate investments including HMAS Cairns.

Conroy said “Cairns will have a vital role to play in our future national security, as we reshape and modernise the Australian Defence Force to prepare for the strategic circumstances we face. As the Defence Strategic Review makes clear, we need to improve the Defence Force’s ability to operate from Australia’s northern bases, which includes Cairns. A genuine partnership between the government and defence industry companies, including in Queensland, will be critical. The new robots for the Australian Defence Force, to be made in Queensland, are an example of building our local industry and workforce on innovative technologies.”

Queensland Senator Nita Green said “Far North Queensland is the gateway to the pacific and it is great to see our Government committed to the improvement of our defence capabilities as we look to the future of the Australian Defence Force. I am also pleased to have Minister Conroy in Cairns today touring our shipyards and highlighting our Government’s $150 million investment in the Cairns Marine Precinct. It’s an exciting time for the future of our region and I couldn’t be prouder to part of the government delivering it.”

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