AVALON AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL AIRSHOW | TRADE DAYS 25-28 MARCH 2025 | AVALON AIRPORT, GEELONG, VICTORIA

AVALON AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL AIRSHOW
TRADE DAYS 25-28 MARCH 2025
AVALON AIRPORT, GEELONG, VICTORIA

INNOVATION

INNOVATION AWARDS HISTORY

INNOVATION AWARDS HISTORY

The Industry Innovation Awards program announced by the AMDA Foundation Limited in 2012, was first awarded at AVALON 2013 Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition and has directly addressed the operational and sustainment needs of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as well as the civil and commercial aviation and maritime communities.

Since 2013, $585,000-worth of SME and Young Innovator Awards have been presented at Avalon and its sister events, the Indo Pacific International Maritime Exposition and Land Forces International Land Defence Exposition.

The Awards are driven by the Foundation’s altruistic mission to promote the development of Australia’s defence industry capability. They are open to Australian companies or the Australian subsidiaries of overseas parent companies with entries judged on their understanding of the user needs, the originality of the innovation and, crucially, their success in the market.

We have included below a full list of the winners and shortlisted candidates from 2013-2019.

AVALON 2019 INNOVATION AWARDS

Seven Australian innovators were presented with AVALON 2019 Innovation Awards worth some $45,000 by the Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon. Steve Ciobo MP. The winners include an SME whose Sapphire Crystal clock has ‘fast-forwarded’ Defence’s Jindalee radar upgrade by 20 years and a young innovator using 3-D printing technology to build extremely complex rocket motor nozzles that will reduce space launch costs by up to 25%.

The Awards and Pitchfest prizes were presented on Wednesday 27 February in a ceremony at the AVALON 2019 Theatrette.

The winners are:

  • AVALON 2019 National Civil Innovation Award:
    InnovAero Pty Limited (WA)
  • AVALON 2019 National Defence Innovation Award:
    Defence Innovations Pty Limited (VIC)
  • AVALON 2019 Defence SME Innovation Grant ($15,000):
    Cryoclock Pty Limited (SA)
  • AVALON 2019 Young Civil Innovator Award ($15,000):
    Mr Graham Bell, Monash University & NextAero Pty Limited (VIC)
  • AVALON 2019 Young Defence Innovator Award ($15,000):
    Mr Jimmy Toton, RMIT University and DMTC Limited (VIC)
  • AVALON 2019 Innovation Award for Space Operations and Technology:
    Inovor technologies Pty Limited (SA)
  • AVALON 2019 Innovation Award for Autonomous and Unmanned Systems and ISR:
    Cryoclock Pty Limited
  • AVALON 2019 Innovation Award for Training:
    Toll Helicopters, The ACE Training Centre
  • AVALON 2019 Innovation Award for Aeronautics and Counter-Drone Systems:
    InnovAero Pty Limited


In addition, three Award contenders won a High Commendation.

“Our Innovation Awards were the first, and remain the only, such awards to recognise and reward the creativity, achievements and sheer excellence of innovative Australian companies and individuals in the aerospace industry,” said Avalon 2019 CEO Mr Ian Honnery.

The fact that entrants were so eager to submit entries for the Avalon 2019 Innovation Awards is a reflection of both the quality and ambition of Australian companies and the growing prestige of these awards, Mr Honnery added.

The National Award winners were presented with engraved glass boomerangs, symbolising the inventiveness of Australia’s first peoples and their unique contribution to aeronautical history. The boomerangs were designed and made by Wathaurong Glass Arts, an indigenously owned and managed cooperative in Geelong.

The winners of the SME Innovation Grant and the Young Innovator Awards were presented with cheques for $15,000 each as rewards for their efforts and a small financial contribution to further innovation and the development of professional skills.

“Our purpose as a foundation is to promote the development of Australia’s industry capacity in the fields of aerospace, defence, maritime and IT so we’re putting our money – literally - where our mouth is,” said Mr Honnery.

“That the awards have been won by such high-quality candidates speaks for the quality of the individuals, companies and organisations making up Australia’s civil and military aerospace industry,” he added.

 

AVALON 2019 National Civil Innovation Award:
The judges recommended this go to InnovAero Pty Limited of O’Connor, WA, for developing the BigEye aerial camera system.

BigEye is the world’s best-in-class aerial camera system which when used in conjunction with the bespoke processing technology developed by sister company Spookfish Limited provides: Industry-leading resolution/altitude performance - less than 5cm pixel size captured from 10,000ft; Industry-leading accuracy with much better than 20cm RMS location accuracy for features on the ground straight from the processed imagery without the requirement for external adjustment; Industry-leading capture rate with up to 2,500sqkm per day per system at that resolution and accuracy. InnovAero has achieved export sales already worth some $30 million and its partner company, Spookfish, has been acquired by a US aerial surveillance specialist for $140 million.

AVALON 2019 National Defence Innovation Award:
The judges recommended this go to Defence Innovations Pty Limited of Mulgrave, VIC, for developing the wireless Non-Intrusive-Flight-Test-Instrumentation (NIFTI).

This represents a breakthrough and quantum leap in flight test instrumentation because it is lighter, cheaper and quicker to install and remove than a conventional flight test instrumentation package. Ordered by the RAAF and proven in supersonic flight testing, NIFTI uses stick-on sensors that communicate with an on-board Data Acquisition gateway using WiFi. It is possible to instrument a supersonic aircraft with a NIFTI package in a matter of hours (instead of weeks), and then remove the NIFTI installation in less than an hour to return the aircraft to frontline service. Its domestic and export market potential are both significant.

AVALON 2019 Defence SME Innovation Grant:
The judges have recommended this go to CryoClock Pty Limited of Adelaide, SA, for developing the “Sapphire Clock” product range.

This award-winning technology provides signals that are up to 1,000 times more precise than any other commercial system: it is so precise, it gains or loses only one second over 40 million years. The Sapphire Clock has been incorporated into the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN), whose upgrade aims to improve its ability to detect slow moving objects among significant background clutter, enabling JORN to see smaller objects, travelling slower, at much greater range. The impact of the Sapphire Clock in improving end-to-end radar sensitivity and resolution is such that it has been likened by Defence to “jumping the project forward by 20 years in just one day”.

AVALON 2019 Young Civil Innovator Award:
The judges recommended this Scholarship be awarded to Mr Graham Bell of Monash University and the co-founder and CEO of NextAero Pty Limited, Melbourne, VIC, for his ground-breaking work using 3-D printing to create an Aerospike rocket motor nozzle that has the potential to reduce the cost of space launch by up to 25%.

The Aerospike nozzle essentially turns the traditional bell-mouth rocket motor nozzle inside out and provides greater efficiency, especially at lower speeds, but requires highly complex internal cooling channels to prevent overheating. Mr Bell and NextAero with resources from Monash University have employed 3-D printing technology to create the extremely complex internal shape required for an aerospike nozzle and have successfully tested it in Australia.

AVALON 2019 Young Defence Innovator Award:
The judges recommended this Scholarship be awarded to Mr Jimmy Toton of RMIT University, the DMTC Limited and Sutton Tools, all Melbourne-based, for his work employing 3-D Printing in the fabrication of cutting tools for very hard materials such as Titanium and Stainless Steel.

Utilising 3-D printing technology will allow for significant productivity increases by producing complex and specialised cutting tool geometries that aren’t possible through traditional production processes, with optimised materials and internal cooling channels, while achieving superior performance outcomes. The aim is to increase the productivity of cutting tools used by Australian companies to manufacture high-technology components for aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, reduce the cost of creating components in Titanium and Stainless Steel and so increase Australian industry’s global competitiveness.

AVALON 2019 Innovation Award for Space Operations and Technology:
The judges recommended this be awarded to Inovor Technologies Pty Limited, of Adelaide, SA for developing a novel nanosatellite platform and a unique Space Situational Awareness (SSA) application.

The nanosatellite platform consists of all subsystems required to support a payload in space, including the primary structure, the power system, pointing control, mission control and health monitoring systems. All are manufactured in Australia. The SSA mission, Project Hyperion, is a constellation of nanosatellites operating in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), looking away from Earth to monitor the high value Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). A unique machine learning based SSA detection and tracking algorithm enables high precision SSA by a small, low cost satellite. This enables a highly sought-after capability – the ability to persistently track a rogue or even potentially hostile GEO or MEO object of interest. Currently there is no system capable of doing this. 

AVALON 2019 Innovation Award for Autonomous and Unmanned Systems and ISR:
The judges recommended this be awarded to Cryoclock Pty Limited of Adelaide, SA, for developing the “Sapphire Clock” product range.

AVALON 2019 Innovation Award for Training:
The judges recommended this be awarded to Toll Helicopters of Bankstown, NSW, for creating the Aeromedical Crewing Excellence, or The ACE Training Centre, a purpose-built training centre that offers world class training facilities and highly realistic mission simulation technology with a focus on technical and non-technical skills for helicopter pilots, aircrew and specialist personnel, such as air medical teams.

Training facilities include a Full Motion Fight Simulator, Complete Aircrew Training System, a HUET simulator and wet and dry winch simulators. The training delivered to Toll aircrews, NSW Ambulance and ACT Ambulance medical crews, as well as operational and clinical crews from other Australian States, sets a new benchmark in the domestic market and follows international best practise by utilising the most modern training programs, techniques and the latest simulation technology.

AVALON 2019 Innovation Award for Aeronautics and Counter-Drone Systems:
The judges recommended this be awarded to InnovAero Pty Limited For developing the BigEye aerial camera system.

High Commendations:
High Commendations are awarded at the Judges’ discretion. Three entrants received High Commendations at Avalon 2019:

  • Deakin University in the Avalon 2019 Innovation Award for Training, for developing the Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) haptically enabled motion platform
  • It’s Rocket Science Adventures in the Avalon 2019 Innovation Award for Training, for its novel and innovative approach to encouraging school students into the STEM education streams
  • Defence Innovations Pty Limited in the Avalon 2019 Innovation Award for Aeronautics and Counter-Drone Technology for developing the NIFTI Non-Intrusive Flight Test Instrumentation System.

AVALON 2017 INNOVATION AWARDS

Winners:

  • Avalon 2017 Defence Industry National Innovation Award: BAE Systems Australia and DST Group
  • Avalon 2017 Civil Industry National Innovation Award: TAE Gas Turbines Limited
  • Avalon 2017 Defence SME Innovation Grant: The judges decided that no entry was of sufficient quality that they could recommend a winner
  • Avalon 2017 Civil SME Innovation Grant: Thomas Global
  • Avalon 2017 Young Innovator Scholarship for Defence Industry: The judges decided that no entry was of sufficient quality that they could recommend a winner
  • Avalon 2017 Young Innovator Scholarship for Civil Industry: Mr Jarrod Hayes-Griss, Advanced Composite Structures Australia and RMIT University

 

Shortlisted:

  • Australian Aerospace Engineering Pty Limited (NSW) – Mission-Specific Composite Main Rotor Blades
  • BAE Systems Australia Limited and DST Group (VIC) – Environmental Degradation Monitoring and Prognostics (EDMAP)
  • Esstrack Pty Limited (VIC) – A-TACS Aviation Telemetry and Communications Systems
  • Flight Safety Foundation Limited (VIC) – Basic Aviation Risk Program BARS) for RPAS Operations Standard
  • Heat Treatment Australia – HTA Group (QLD) – a new metals surface treatment business methodology
  • Kinexus (NSW) – The Future Through Collaboration
  • Moorabbin Flying Services (VIC) - Aviation Education Training Facility Business Model
  • Simulator Solutions Pty Limited (NSW) – SimStack simulator component interface system
  • SynFlyt Pty Limited (NSW) – SynFlyt Innovation 21 Flight Simulator
  • TAE Gas Turbines Pty Limited (QLD) – FOUNTX wearable Technology
  • Thomas Global Systems (NSW) – TFD-8601 Liquid Crystal Display Upgrade
  • Zone Products Australia (NSW) – Arbitor Physical Security Information Management System (PSIM)


YOUNG INNOVATOR SCHOLARSHIP SHORTLIST

  • Mr Jarrod Hayes-Griss, Advanced Composite Structures Australia and RMIT (VIC) – Modelling environmental effects on bonded composite repairs to aerospace structures
  • Mr Simon Kennedy, Monash University (VIC) – 3-D imaging and object recognition for autonomous UAVs

AVALON 2015 INNOVATION AWARDS

Winners:

  • Defence Industry National Innovation Award: Quickstep Systems Pty Limited
  • Defence SME Innovation Grant: Defence Materials Technology Centre Limited
  • Young Innovator Scholarship for Defence Industry: Ms Vanessa Claire Lussini, Queensland University of Technology
  • Civil Industry National Innovation Award: AvSoft Australia Pty Limited
  • Civil SME Innovation Grant: Bower Aero
  • Young Innovator Scholarship for Civil Industry: Mr Abdulghani Mohamed, RMIT University

 

Shortlisted:

  • Defence Materials Technology Centre Ltd (DMTC), VIC – new, cheaper manufacturing tools and processes for Titanium components
  • Quickstep Systems Pty Ltd (NSW) – Quickstep rapid manufacturing process for composite materials
  • BAE Systems Pty Ltd (SA) – Implementation of Lean and Continuous Improvement philosophies
  • Rosebank Engineering (VIC) – Supersonic Particle Deposition
  • Bower Aero (VIC) – Bower Bond plastics repair technology
  • Institute of Instrumentation, Control & Automation Inc (IICA) (VIC) – National Course in Pyrometric requirements for Thermal processing
  • The Jacobson Flare Pty Ltd (VIC) – Jacobson Flare App to teach landing techniques
  • Trakka Corp Pty Ltd (VIC) – A800 helicopter searchlight
  • AvSoft Australia Pty Ltd (VIC) – AvPlan Electronic Flight Bag for tablet computers
  • Gamechanger Technologies Pty Ltd (VIC) – VForce Morphing aerofoil technology
  • Ms Vanessa Claire Lussini (Queensland University of Technology) – Sensors to monitor the breakdown of aircraft and aerostructure surface coatings
  • Mr Abdulghani Mohammed (RMIT University) – Phase-Advanced Sensing to reduce effects of turbulence in flight

AVALON 2013 INNOVATION AWARDS

Winners:

  • National Defence Industry Innovation Award – BAE Systems Australia Limited
  • Defence Industry SME Innovation Grant – Tricon Defence Pty Limited
  • Defence Industry Innovation Scholarship – Mr Luke Vandewater, DST
  •  

  • National Civil Industry Innovation Award – TAE Gas Turbines Pty Limited
  • Civil Industry SME Grant – NO RECOMMENDATION
  • Civil Industry Innovation Scholarship – Mr Ray Vidler, TAE Gas Turbines Pty Limited

For further information please contact:

Gregor Ferguson
Innovation Coordinator
AMDA FOUNDATION LIMITED
PO Box 339
NORTH GEELONG VIC 3215

Mob: 0414 803 717
Email: gferguson@amda.com.au