Relocation of the University of Tasmania from Newnham to Inveresk was "a critical player" in the development of the Australian Maritime College's future defence precinct.
Academic lead Jonathan Binns said AMC was always looking to the future, to ensure it met the needs of industry, as well as fulfilling its "sovereign responsibility" as the country's only maritime college.
That future was looking landlocked for the maritime education institution as the AMC and UTAS were co-located on the Newnham site.
However, with the advancement of UTAS' Northern Transformation plan, the AMC had scope to look inward, and the concept of a defence precinct came into sharper focus.
The defence precinct idea, and the AMC's future, is a key tenet of The Examiner's Under the Surface investigative series, which looks at reasons why defence is an important part of AMC's biology as a college.
Associate Professor Binns is the academic lead for the defence precinct and the director of the Australian Research Council research and training centre for naval design and manufacturing.
He has been working with a team on the preliminary master plan for what the precinct might look like for prospective students.
Academically speaking, the defence precinct is designed around three key focuses: naval systems and assets, remote sensing and human systems.
Associate Professor Binns said AMC had a responsibility to be engaged to fulfill the needs of the current and future naval fleets of Australia.
He said while they had been doing that already "for many years" it was up to the AMC to continue to evolve and upgrade as new technology came to hand.
With a federal government naval shipbuilding plan a key priority, the AMC needed to ensure it was able to meet the needs of the industry, by providing training that will sustain the naval fleet now and in the future.
Associate Professor Binns said providing services to maintain naval systems on ships was key.
"Sustaining, in a naval sense, is quite a few times larger than the initial cost of construction," he said.
"We have been feeding into this cycle constantly...but we need to know how to analyse and propose new designs to make sure sustaining is efficient and effective."
AMC has been named as a strategic partner in the Adelaide-based naval shipbuilding college, which aims to act as a hub to connect education institutions and industry together in the construction of Australia's new naval fleet.
Associate Professor Binns said it was through the AMC's relationships with the Defence department and also with defence industries, also known as defence primes, that they were able to leverage that capability.
In the future, AMC will look to upgrade its technology and systems and conduct more research into how it can best provide the best services for that market.
Launceston hosted a number of defence primes last year, when the AMC held an industry forum chaired by Associate Professor Binns on how the defence precinct would be best placed to engage them.
He said engaging industry in the process was essential to ensuring its success.
FOLLOW THE UNDER THE SURFACE SERIES:
Advancements in remote sensing allow researchers to collect data from places no human has ever set foot.
Associate Professor Binns said one of the big focuses for the AMC in the future would be for autonomous underwater vehicles.
"We have one in Antarctic right now under the ice doing is Antarctic mission. We are pushing AUVs to their limits. No human-made device has been to where this AUV is going to right now," he said.
Remote sensing has a number of different applications and can be used outside the defence and maritime industries - it's something that the AMC has limitless scope to expand.
Associate Professor Binns said it was about having an "end-to-end system" for designing, program and launching AUV vehicles as "even launching one of these things is an effort in itself."
He said the defence precinct would allow AMC to look at how to analyse and feed back the data into a system for simulation or operation.
Collaboration is also key with the remote sensing arena as advancements in technology were being made all the time.
Associate Professor Binns said there might even be some sensors or technology that UTAS and AMC don't know about yet and they were open to collaborating with other universities if that was the case.
RELATED STORIES ON THE DEFENCE PRECINCT
Associate Professor Binns said the final segment of training that would be expanded at the defence precinct would be what they term human systems - or how a person's body reacts and responds to months at sea.
"We want to give that end-to-end process, to look at how teams are operating and how the whole system comes into play," he said.
"How people react and respond to months at sea is the final link in the chain for academic expansion."
He said there was opportunity here to expand their industry links to the food innovation facility at Scottsdale, which provides high-end nutritious food ration packs for the defence force.
"Test and evaluation is something we have done for many years. Where do we go next is to bring that all together."
He said it was important AMC looked at existing problems, which they had done for a number of years, but the defence precinct aimed to bring all those existing ideas and loop them together.
What the defence precinct looks like in the physical space of the AMC is yet to be determined.
"Its a matter of making sure we can take those ideas, adapt that idea to the full gamut of stakeholders and then analyse and present it back."
"Technology is going to change, ppl is going to change, we need to stay current."
- The next instalment of the Under the Surface series will see just how much human bodies are put to the test in the survival centre.
While you’re with us, did you know you can now sign up to receive breaking news updates direct to your inbox? Sign up here.