October 30, 2021
Adelaide’s small and medium-sized business, Silentium Defense, is developing cutting-edge technology that promises to revolutionize the way objects in space are monitored from Earth.
The company is a pioneer in the development of passive radar technology, which uses reflected radio energy already diffused into the atmosphere from sources such as commercial radio and television stations, to detect and track objects. Because it does not emit energy itself, it can “see without being seen” and is also weather agnostic.
In space, the ability to detect and track objects is important for two major reasons: Space is becoming increasingly congested, especially in low earth orbit (up to 2000 km), where the commercialization of space adds hundreds of objects each month, increasing the risk of collision.
The second reason is more sinister. The proliferation of intercontinental missile capability in our region is growing rapidly and was dramatically highlighted in October with China’s successful test of a hypersonic glide vehicle – described in US media as a fractional orbital bombardment system – and the test reported by North Korea of an intercontinental ballistic missile submarine launched.
Here in Australia, Defense is developing an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) system – with unspoken Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capability as an important subset – as a priority.
A key element of this is a space awareness program being developed under Joint Project 9360.
While the first tranche of capacity will consist of optical ground sensors, the JP9360 is carefully monitoring maturing technologies such as passive radar systems.
Silentium Defense was established in 2017 and has developed its family of Maverick passive radar systems for a range of applications – from commercial airspace management or drone surveillance, to field object detection and tracking. from battle to space surveillance.
“The form factors for size, weight and power are tailored to the different operational use cases on the three Maverick series systems, ranging from tactical situational awareness with the M series to low earth orbit. with the Maverick S-series, ”says James Palmer, CEO of Silentium.
“This shows that we have a cost-effective and scalable detection and tracking solution that extends from small and near objects, to objects that are still quite small, but far away. “
The company developed the Maverick S-Series radar with help from the Defense Innovation Hub and the Australian Space Agency and successfully demonstrated it at the Defense Science and Technology Group SpaceFest events in Woomera in 2019 and 2020.
In May 2020, Silentium won a $ 3.2 million contract to further develop the Maverick S series as part of phase 2 of the IHL process and in July of this year it was awarded another 7 , $ 4 million over two years to deliver its Maverick M series to the Australian. Army for evaluation.
“We are seeing good market traction in all three market segments and significant growth potential in the technology we are developing,” said Palmer.
“In terms of exports, we are leaning strongly forward on the international front and we see significant opportunities on the horizon.”