The Australian government has officially launched the Defence Materials Technology Centre, with the private-public partnership now working on 16 projects researching "smart" materials for use in the Australian Defence Force's next-generation aircraft.

The A$85 million ($54.7 million) centre, based in Bendigo, Victoria, has been established under the Defence Future Capability Technology Centre programme. It involves 29 partners from the public and private sectors, with the government providing A$30 million in funding and partners contributing A$55 million.

The initiative includes defence companies BAE Systems, Thales Australia, GKN Aerospace, five local universities, materials companies Bluescope Steel and Surface Technology Coatings, Australian nuclear research and development organisation ANSTO, the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, and Co-operative Research Centres for Advanced Composite Structures and Cast Metals Manufacturing.

The centre is focusing on research programmes in air and maritime platforms, armour applications and propulsion systems. Projects under way include development of new titanium fabrication technology, next-generation tooling development, advanced process monitoring tools and transfer to the manufacturing supply chain, aircraft prognostic tools to reduce the impact of corrosion, rapid and reliable detection and analysis of composite defects, high strength steels for defence applications, repair technologies for current and next-generation propulsion systems and high-temperature materials for hyper and supersonic flight.

Source: Flight International