The Australian government opened a 14 million Australian dollar ($9.8 million) hypersonics research precinct in Brisbane this week.
The Australian Ministry of Defence stated that the facility will provide “a location for defense, industry, universities and international partners to advance our understanding and use of hypersonic technology through flight test vehicles.”
Staffed by 60 people, the facility is part of the government’s $3 billion investment in “defense innovation, science, and technology over the next decade.”
Deterrence Against Hypersonic Weapons
“The technology that is developed here will help us to better defend against the malign use of this technology and give us the ability to strike any potential adversaries from a distance and deter aggression against Australia’s national interests,” Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said.
“It enables defense researchers to develop and characterize sovereign hypersonic technologies and generate ‘true’ hypersonic flight conditions at large scale in a classified laboratory.”
The research center is Australia’s first unilateral step towards developing indigenous hypersonic capabilities. In 2020, Canberra and Washington signed a bilateral effort to jointly develop air-breathing hypersonic technologies under the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment program.
A year later, Boeing and Lockheed Martin secured contracts under the program to develop an air-breathing hypersonic cruise missile that can be fired from “tactical fighter aircraft such as the F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and F-35A Lightning II, as well as the P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.”
According to Breaking Defense, the US-Australia program is an offshoot of a previous 2007 collaboration between the two nations called the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation program to develop baseline hypersonic technologies.