Truly sovereign T&E defence capability critical to deliver safe, fit-for-purpose equipment for our armed forces


Test and Evaluation (T&E) ensures our service men and women are safe and their equipment is fit for purpose. But what is T&E and why is it so important? Tim Grabert, Test and Evaluation Manager at Nova Systems, unpacks this topic…

Test and Evaluation (T&E) ensures our service men and women are safe and their equipment is fit for purpose. But what is T&E and why is it so important? Tim Grabert, Test and Evaluation Manager at Nova Systems, unpacks this topic…

As technology is now embedded into every aspect of our daily lives, the ability to ensure the systems and platforms we rely on are secure, effective, efficient and ethical becomes increasingly important. Consequently, testing and evaluating complex systems is now a key element of our modern life – even if we don’t know it.

Ironically, when done well, tests and evaluations become largely invisible to the consumer, as they prevent negative outcomes from flawed technology and platforms from ever occurring.

However, when testing and assessment is poorly performed, or simply outsourced to an overseas facility to do it on our behalf, the consequences for Australians can be disastrous.

T&E is strict Process to ensure each platform or system is secure, reliable and fit for purpose.

Our armed forces – and our nation – deserve nothing less than the finest military skills – to settle for untested and untried equipment is simply unacceptable.

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In the context of national security, a robust sovereign testing and assessment capability is our best vehicle to ensure our servicewomen and men have the skills they need, and at the relevant speed (quote 26th Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis) working as it should to keep both themselves and our nation safe and secure.

So critical that the government has recognized Test and Evaluation, Certification and Systems Assurance T&ECSA as one of its 10 defined Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities (SICPs).

Because of this, testing and evaluation of military systems and platforms must be rigorous and conducted by Australians for Australians under Australian control. This critical work is Nova System’s specialty.

Why is a sovereign ability to test and evaluate so important?

Rapid changes in the global security environment, coupled with disrupted global supply chains, have highlighted the need for a sovereign defense capability to ensure Australia can stand on its own two feet, now and in the future.

Our nation’s ever-changing strategic environment requires defense to have increasingly sophisticated capabilities; the types of capabilities that can only be provided by complex systems-of-systems seamlessly integrated into a common force.

As a nation, we cannot be a “smart buyer” if we cannot determine whether the skills we are developing or acquiring meet our stated needs.

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T&E is the bread and butter of Nova Systems. It is the foundation of our business and what we are known for, and it is a skill in which we continue to be at the forefront with new integrated digital methods and as a provider of highly specialized training for T&E practitioners. Nova Systems continually invests in T&E tools, processes, people and training to ensure we continue to be at the forefront of this capability.

As a 100% Australian owned and controlled T&E provider, Nova Systems has over 20 years of experience in delivering this capability to defence.

We are fortunate to have some of the best engineers connected to our community of veterans who know exactly what our Soldiers and Soldiers need because they have walked in their shoes.

We believe there is a unique opportunity to have an Australian controlled SICP to provide world class sovereign T&E for defense – and we must act now.

T&ECSA is the only SICP that spans all SICPs and all domains. T&ECSA is a horizontal SICP for all environments and the entire lifecycle from design to disposal. It gives significant insight into and impact on all other SICPs.

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It should be deployed at the highest level of sovereignty – national control over demand and supply, with the issue of sovereignty being the first threshold issue: Australian control.

To support the continued development of sovereign T&E capabilities, Nova Systems recently announced that it will establish Australia’s first T&E Center of Excellence. It will bring together defense, industry and academia to provide mission engineering expertise, synthetic methods for joint T&E and mission assurance, and advanced T&E practitioner training with a focus on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.

This is a national initiative that will support the delivery of truly sovereign T&E capabilities to the Australian Armed Forces, resulting in the delivery of safe, fit-for-purpose capabilities for our war fighters to achieve operational results now and for generations to come.

*Tim Grabert is the Test & Evaluation Capability Lead at Nova Systems and is a seasoned flight test engineer and systems engineering expert. He previously served in the Australian Army in helicopter flight test and technical management roles and now leads the implementation of the Nova Systems Test & Evaluation Center of Excellence.

A truly superior T&E defense capability is critical to providing safe, fit-for-purpose equipment for our armed forces

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Last updated: September 19, 2022

Released: September 20, 2022





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