The Government of Australia has awarded eight new contracts worth A$21m ($14m) to boost its defence industry and develop new technologies.

Under the A$640m ($444m) defence innovation programme, industry partners and research organisations can submit innovation proposals through the Defence Innovation Portal.

Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “This latest funding boost will see the development of cutting-edge space, cyber and maritime technologies.

“The contracts were awarded to small businesses from across Australia, and two contracts with leading Australian universities.”

The University of Sydney in New South Wales (NSW) has won a A$6.5m ($4.5m) contract to develop a new electronic receiver system.

Using light manipulation technology, researchers will continue to develop an imaging system to enhance real-time situational awareness for military operations.

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Once successful, this technology will enhance the safety of the Australian troops safer during missions.

Other organisations that won the contracts are Solar Sailor Engineering or Ocuis, Penten, UAV Vision or AVT Australia, Quintessence Labs, High Earth Orbit Robotics, RUAG Australia and Deakin University.

Through the Defence Innovation Hub, the government has supported innovative projects worth A$200m ($138m).

The investment primarily focuses with micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Prince added: “Defence’s partnership with Ocius will continue the development of its innovative Bluebottle vessel, which can conduct advanced maritime surveillance and communicate data in real time.

“This technology could provide the Royal Australian Navy with a unique capability to protect Australia’s maritime borders.

“Importantly, these investments have created hundreds of new Australian jobs, so we know we’re investing in the growth and capability of our defence industry.”