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About David


David served in the Australian Defence Force for over 22 years. An Army pilot, he flew helicopters and fixed wing aircraft and was the Senior Flying Instructor at the School of Army Aviation in Queensland.

Graduating as an experimental test pilot from the Empire Test Pilots’ School (UK), he finished his full time career in Defence as the Commanding Officer of the RAAF Aircraft Research and Development Unit.

Elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Wakefield (SA) in 2004, he served in the Parliament until 2007. David continued to fly as a test pilot and ran a small business working in the Defence and Aviation sectors prior to being elected to the Senate in 2010, 2016 and again in 2019.

In the (45th) Parliament, David was sworn as the Assistant Minister for Defence.

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MILESTONE IN VICKERS VIMY RELOCATION TO ADELAIDE AIRPORT TERMINALThe Vickers Vimy aircraft restoration and relocation project reached a new milestone this week – the aircraft was lowered onto new stands in its final position. This is the same aircraft that South Australian brothers Sir Ross and Keith Smith flew 103 years ago, to take pride of place in the new expanded Adelaide Airport terminal.Requiring significant planning, the aircraft had to be dismantled to be moved from its former home into the terminal, and moved in 3 parts before being reconstructed in place.This relocation project was made possible through a $4 million joint contribution from the former Federal Liberal and State Liberal Governments, alongside $2 million in private investment from the Adelaide Airport.In December 2019, we marked the 100th anniversary since the Smith Brothers piloted a modified ‘Vickers Vimy’ bomber from England to Australia (Hounslow-Darwin) and won the 1919 Great Air Race. It took the crew 27 days and 20 hours to make the journey and claim the Australian Government’s £10,000 prize – the first successful flight of its kind. Sir Ross Smith, who led the team, was joined by his brother Keith (also a pilot) along with mechanics James Bennett and Wally Shiers. More information on the Smith Brothers’ achievement: epicflightcentenary.com.au/articles/ ... See MoreSee Less

MILESTONE IN VICKERS VIMY RELOCATION TO ADELAIDE AIRPORT TERMINAL
The Vickers Vimy aircraft restoration and relocation project reached a new milestone this week – the aircraft was lowered onto new stands in its final position. 

This is the same aircraft that South Australian brothers Sir Ross and Keith Smith flew 103 years ago, to take pride of place in the new expanded Adelaide Airport terminal.

Requiring significant planning, the aircraft had to be dismantled to be moved from its former home into the terminal, and moved in 3 parts before being reconstructed in place.

This relocation project was made possible through a $4 million joint contribution from the former Federal Liberal and State Liberal Governments, alongside $2 million in private investment from the Adelaide Airport.

In December 2019, we marked the 100th anniversary since the Smith Brothers piloted a modified ‘Vickers Vimy’ bomber from England to Australia (Hounslow-Darwin) and won the 1919 Great Air Race. It took the crew 27 days and 20 hours to make the journey and claim the Australian Government’s £10,000 prize – the first successful flight of its kind. Sir Ross Smith, who led the team, was joined by his brother Keith (also a pilot) along with mechanics James Bennett and Wally Shiers. More information on the Smith Brothers’ achievement: https://epicflightcentenary.com.au/articles/Image attachment

This week, I met with representatives from South Australian defence industry and Defence at the SA Aerospace and Information Warfare Forum (AIWF) held in the Adelaide Convention Centre. The AIWF is an industry exhibition of 50+ defence primes and SMEs, youth and engineering associations, plus government and academia – hosted by Defence SA.As a result of the former Federal Liberal Government’s record investment in Australia’s defence capability, the South Australian defence industry is growing in size, capability and reputation. The Liberal Government committed $270 billion over the decade for investment in new and upgraded capabilities. By the end of this decade, 15,000 Australians are expected to be employed in the shipbuilding enterprise alone, with 5,000 of those in SA, as a result of our investment in defence.One of AIWF exhibitors was Cobham Aviation Services (Cobham Aviation Services - recruitment) – a great example of an Australian team collaborating with other Australian companies to develop sovereign capability which is being used to protect our national interests.Cobham is a leading specialist aviation operator, which conducts aerial border surveillance and search-and-rescue operations, among other work. Cobham’s fleet of Dash-8 surveillance aircraft and their crew are used to conduct airborne surveillance and search-and-rescue operations for the Australian Government.I spoke with Cobham’s Business Development Director, Anthony Patterson at AIWF who I’ve known for a number of years as a long-standing contributor to SA’s defence industry.Cobham’s partnership with SA-based Acacia Systems led to the development of Australia’s world leading Mission Management Systems (MMS) – an important sovereign capability which has proven more capable and reliable than most overseas MMS technology.In March, Acacia extended their existing partnership to collaborate on a Dash-8 fleet modification project, with aircraft integration work commencing in February at Cobham’s aircraft maintenance facility near Adelaide Airport. The project upgrades critical technology on board Cobham’s fleet of Dash-8 aircraft and within the ground operations command centre. More information: bit.ly/3Cjt3WZ#AIWForum ... See MoreSee Less

This week, I met with representatives from South Australian defence industry and Defence at the SA Aerospace and Information Warfare Forum (AIWF) held in the Adelaide Convention Centre. 

The AIWF is an industry exhibition of 50+ defence primes and SMEs, youth and engineering associations, plus government and academia – hosted by Defence SA.

As a result of the former Federal Liberal Government’s record investment in Australia’s defence capability, the South Australian defence industry is growing in size, capability and reputation. The Liberal Government committed $270 billion over the decade for investment in new and upgraded capabilities. By the end of this decade, 15,000 Australians are expected to be employed in the shipbuilding enterprise alone, with 5,000 of those in SA, as a result of our investment in defence.

One of AIWF exhibitors was Cobham Aviation Services (Cobham Aviation Services - recruitment) – a great example of an Australian team collaborating with other Australian companies to develop sovereign capability which is being used to protect our national interests.

Cobham is a leading specialist aviation operator, which conducts aerial border surveillance and search-and-rescue operations, among other work. Cobham’s fleet of Dash-8 surveillance aircraft and their crew are used to conduct airborne surveillance and search-and-rescue operations for the Australian Government.

I spoke with Cobham’s Business Development Director, Anthony Patterson at AIWF who I’ve known for a number of years as a long-standing contributor to SA’s defence industry.

Cobham’s partnership with SA-based Acacia Systems led to the development of Australia’s world leading Mission Management Systems (MMS) – an important sovereign capability which has proven more capable and reliable than most overseas MMS technology.

In March, Acacia extended their existing partnership to collaborate on a Dash-8 fleet modification project, with aircraft integration work commencing in February at Cobham’s aircraft maintenance facility near Adelaide Airport. The project upgrades critical technology on board Cobham’s fleet of Dash-8 aircraft and within the ground operations command centre. More information: https://bit.ly/3Cjt3WZ

#AIWForum

Employers who support staff to take leave in order to serve in the Defence Reserves play a key role in enabling the ADF to protect Australia and its interests. I joined Brigadier Graham Goodwin CSC, Commander of the 9th Brigade, last night at a reception to thank both reservists and their employers. ... See MoreSee Less

Employers who support staff to take leave in order to serve in the Defence Reserves play a key role in enabling the ADF to protect Australia and its interests. I joined Brigadier Graham Goodwin CSC, Commander of the 9th Brigade, last night at a reception to thank both reservists and their employers.

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By law they have to if my memory serves me correctly.

Acacia Systems is an exemplar of an Australian sovereign defence SME. On Tuesday, I met with Founder and Chairman of Acacia, Ted Huber, and CEO, Horden Wilshire, for an update on some next-generation capabilities they are developing.Based in SA, the company has a long track record of developing world-leading tracking and display systems that deliver vital combat capability for our ADF. Part of their update, the team provided a brief on new capabilities – combining the power of unmanned systems, machine learning and advanced data processing. I was particularly impressed with the progress made on their ‘RefleX’ mission records and data management system. This upgraded software is being re-deployed aboard the Collins Class submarine fleet and has been integrated into an allied Navy’s shore-based submarine combat system simulator. RefleX allows our ADF personnel to capture and visualise different elements of mission data, review their performance and optimise mission performance. Acacia Systems also contribute to C4 EDGE (Evolutionary Digital Ground Environment) – a defence industry collaboration between 31 Australian small-to-medium sized businesses established to design, develop and manufacture a C4 (command control communications and computers) capacity proof-of-concept for the Australian Army. More information: bit.ly/33yKeGWIn March, Acacia partnered with Cobham Aviation Special Mission (Cobham Aviation Services - recruitment) on a Dash-8 fleet modification project, with aircraft integration work commencing in February at Cobham’s aircraft maintenance facility near Adelaide Airport.The project sees the extension of the existing partnership between Acacia and Cobham – upgrading critical technology on board Cobham’s fleet of Dash-8 surveillance aircraft and within the ground operations command centre. Cobham’s fleet of Dash-8 aircraft and their crew are used to conduct airborne surveillance and search-and-rescue operations for the Australian Government. More information: bit.ly/3Cjt3WZThe existing partnership between Acacia and Cobham led to the development of Australia’s first Mission Management Systems (MMS) – an important sovereign capability which has proven more capable and reliable than most overseas MMS technology.I will continue to make the case that Government must prioritise contracts with those elements of Australia’s defence industry that are fundamental to maintaining a resilient national security capability. ... See MoreSee Less

Acacia Systems is an exemplar of an Australian sovereign defence SME. On Tuesday, I met with Founder and Chairman of Acacia, Ted Huber, and CEO, Horden Wilshire, for an update on some next-generation capabilities they are developing.

Based in SA, the company has a long track record of developing world-leading tracking and display systems that deliver vital combat capability for our ADF. Part of their update, the team provided a brief on new capabilities – combining the power of unmanned systems, machine learning and advanced data processing. I was particularly impressed with the progress made on their ‘RefleX’ mission records and data management system. This upgraded software is being re-deployed aboard the Collins Class submarine fleet and has been integrated into an allied Navy’s shore-based submarine combat system simulator. RefleX allows our ADF personnel to capture and visualise different elements of mission data, review their performance and optimise mission performance. 

Acacia Systems also contribute to C4 EDGE (Evolutionary Digital Ground Environment) – a defence industry collaboration between 31 Australian small-to-medium sized businesses established to design, develop and manufacture a C4 (command control communications and computers) capacity proof-of-concept for the Australian Army. More information: https://bit.ly/33yKeGW

In March, Acacia partnered with Cobham Aviation Special Mission (Cobham Aviation Services - recruitment) on a Dash-8 fleet modification project, with aircraft integration work commencing in February at Cobham’s aircraft maintenance facility near Adelaide Airport.

The project sees the extension of the existing partnership between Acacia and Cobham – upgrading critical technology on board Cobham’s fleet of Dash-8 surveillance aircraft and within the ground operations command centre. Cobham’s fleet of Dash-8 aircraft and their crew are used to conduct airborne surveillance and search-and-rescue operations for the Australian Government. More information: https://bit.ly/3Cjt3WZ

The existing partnership between Acacia and Cobham led to the development of Australia’s first Mission Management Systems (MMS) – an important sovereign capability which has proven more capable and reliable than most overseas MMS technology.

I will continue to make the case that Government must prioritise contracts with those elements of Australia’s defence industry that are fundamental to maintaining a resilient national security capability.Image attachment
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