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Minchin launches Wedgetail Training, Research and Development Centre.



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MINCHIN LAUNCHES WEDGETAIL TRAINING, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTRE

At a ceremony in Adelaide today, the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin, launched the Wedgetail Training, Research and Development Centre (TRDC) which will provide training courses to meet the needs of Australia’s defence aerospace industries. 10 July 2001

10 July 2001             01/317

MINCHIN LAUNCHES WEDGETAIL TRAINING, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTRE At a ceremony in Adelaide today, the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin, launched the Wedgetail Training, Research and Development Centre (TRDC) which will provide training courses to meet the needs of Australia’s defence aerospace industries.

The centre, a joint venture of the Commonwealth Government’s Cooperative Research Centre for Sensor Signal and Information Processing and the University of South Australia, will develop  and deliver courses for radar systems and signal processing, and carry out research and development projects in radar systems, signal processing and other relevant areas.

“These projects and training courses will ensure that the Australian skills base is at the highest possible level throughout the anticipated 40-year life of the Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft,” Senator Minchin said.

“There will be 12 courses focusing on radar systems and signal processing at a rate of four a year over a three-year period commencing next year.

“Military forces have been using AEW&C aircraft for some time and in recent years the system has become more widespread.

“While radar gives ample warning of a high-flying aircraft, the radar horizon is reduced to less than 20km when the aircraft approaches at low level. The radar limitation has been solved by AEW&C aircraft by elevating the radar 10km above the earth’s surface so that the radar can ‘see’ everything from directly below out to a range of hundreds of kilometres.

“Low flying aircraft cannot ‘sneak up’ to within a few kilometres by approaching below the radar horizon.”

Unveiling a commemorative plaque at the new centre, Senator Minchin said South Australia had a growing economy and that part of that growth could be attributed to defence spending in the State on projects as

such as the Wedgetail TRDC.

“This project will add to the equation by providing more growth and creating employment opportunities which in turn will boost spending in retail and wholesale outlets in metropolitan and suburban areas of Adelaide,” Senator Minchin said.

Senator Minchin said the project was established by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sensor Signal and Information Processing and the University of Adelaide, and funded by Northrop Grumman as part of Australia’s purchase of the Wedgetail Airborne Warning and Control system from the Boeing company.

“The CRC Program is administered through the Government’s business unit AusIndustry, and aims to foster stronger links between industry, educational institutions and government, in order to develop world-class research,” Senator Minchin said.

“The program offers the business community an opportunity to collaborate with research institutions and undertake research and development relevant to industry needs.

“This particular CRC was established in 1992 and renewed in 1999 under the CRC program and now has 10 participating partners. Total Federal funding is $13.2 million for the seven-year period commencing 1999.

“The total Federal Government investment in the CRC program (1990-2008) is about $1.8 billion. There are seven CRCs who have head offices based in South Australia, with funding of $107.4 million over their grant period.”

Senator Minchin said that in the Government’s Innovation Statement, Backing Australia’s Ability, a further $2.9 billion Commonwealth investment has been provided for Australia’s research and development, which included $227 million to the expansion of the CRC Program over the next five years.

For further information on the CRC Program, and other AusIndustry products and services, visit the website at www.ausindustry.gov.au or call the AusIndustry HotLine 13 28 46.

Contact:  Carolyn Coleman, Senator Minchin’s office, 02 62777580

CMR378-01

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