Engineers getting on the defensive Thursday, 24 May 2018

Would-be engineers are beating a path to South Australia as yet another defence technology company puts down roots, this time partnering with The University of Adelaide.

French 3D software company, Dassault Systèmes, is set to open an office later this year at the university alongside a specialised industry-focused curriculum for engineering students. The company wants to position itself for work on major Australian defence projects with a team comprising interns from the University of Adelaide (UoA) and staff from France and India.

Masaki (Sox) Konno, managing director for Asia Pacific South at Dassault said the company aims to work on future frigate and submarine programs, but shares interests with UoA in “STEM education, defence, Smart Cities, mining, energy and agriculture”.

Vice-Chancellor of The University of Adelaide, Professor Peter Rathjen, said partnering with the company means engineering students will have more opportunities to be involved in the defence sector in Australia.

Dassault’s announcement comes in the wake of another agreement it struck with LogiCamms in South Australia to map digital capability in large manufacturing projects. Dassault Systèmes is known in particular for its Virtual Shipyard Training program and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

The University of Adelaide has also partnered with another French enterprise, multi-disciplinary engineering institute ENSTA Bretagne to offer defence-related Masters Degrees. The Master of Marine Engineering will be from UoA and a Master of Science in Marine Engineering, Surface Ships and Submarines from the French institution.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of UoA, Professor Pascale Quester, said the program would target technicians and engineers seeking to upskill or transition from other industry sectors ahead of the $89 billion ear-marked for defence spending on submarines and ships.

Other engineering companies that have already set up shop in South Australia include Boeing, BAE Systems, and SAAB. Australia’s largest shipbuilding hub, Techport Australia, is also in Adelaide, playing host to the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance. It is also responsible for the Collins-class submarine fleet and French Government-owned shipbuilder, Naval Group, is expected to build 12 Shortfin Barracuda submarines there for the Royal Australian Navy.