The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has awarded Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority grants to four local small businesses.

The four grant recipients are AEM Consolidated, Adlingtons Australia, Armor Australia, and Century Products.

The South Australian companies will use the total funding of A$2.3m ($1.57m) to procure specialised tools and equipment.

Australia Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said: “The Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Grants encourage greater participation by Australia’s small businesses in our ambitious defence industry agenda.

“We want to maximise small business involvement in delivering our A$200bn ($137.28bn) build-up of defence capability because this approach helps create new jobs right across Australia.”

Armor Australia is providing next-generation combat helmets for use by the Australian Defence Force.

The business will use the funding to purchase specialist tooling to improve the design of the lightweight combat helmets.

AEM Consolidated will use the grant to buy an automatic coil winding machine and a vacuum pressure impregnation unit.

The equipment will deliver improvements in the repair and overhaul of motors for defence ships and submarines.

The grant to Adlingtons Australia will enable the acquisition of automated pipe bending and welding equipment.

Another grant recipient, Century Products, intends to install a programming and beam drilling quality cell for frigates and submarines.

The Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority grants are intended to support eligible local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The programme provides total funding of up to A$17m ($11.66m) to SMEs to help them invest in projects aligned with the DoD’s sovereign industrial capability priorities.