Page 23 - Australian Defence Magazine Oct 2018
P. 23

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Active growth in passive radars
IN spite of being founded less than two years ago, its focus on a passive system, and its name, Silentium Defence is a company about which much more will be heard.
Established in April 2017 by long-time DST Group research scientists Dr James Palmer (CEO) and Simon Palumbo (Chief Technical Officer), Silentium specialises in the design, engineering, and research and development of passive radar systems.
In essence, instead of its own transmit- ter such a system uses existing background sources of radio energy, such as broadcast television and satellites, and enables users to see without being seen.
Both founders worked with DST for more than 10 years on passive radar, but subse- quently developed their own IP from scratch to progress their objective of commercialis- ing the technology and further developing it for defence and civilian customers.
In short order, Silentium won $200,000 from the South Australia Early Commer- cialisation Fund, undertook studies for Boeing’s Phantom Works on affordable sit- uational awareness sensors for beyond line- of-sight unmanned aerial systems, and ob- tained collaborative funding from the South Australia Defence Innovation Partnership.
In July 2018 Silentium opened its own re- search and development facility at Parafield airport near Adelaide and obtained $1.5 million in Commonwealth funding for two contracts.
The first, valued at $870,000, is to ad- vance the concept of a system to provide enhanced space situational awareness. The second, worth $647,000, will support devel- opment of a capability to provide broad-area situational awareness to bases and vehicles.
As of September 2018 the company had found time to grow to six fulltime and sev- en part-time staff, with further expansion already anticipated.
“Passive radar provides 360 degree per- sistent awareness, there’s no radiation haz- ard, it can be used where traditional radars can not, and we’re the first to successfully develop the technology to be able to track objects in space orbit,” Dr Palmer com- mented to ADM. | October 2018 | 23

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