Morrison Government invests in ultra-high-precision Sapphire Clock technology

Department of Defence

To enhance the performance of Australia’s Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN), the Morrison Government has awarded BAE Systems Australia and CryoClock Pty Ltd a $4.8 million contract to develop ultra-high-precision Sapphire Clock technology.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the project reflects the Government’s ongoing commitment to maximising opportunities for Australian industry.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the Morrison Government’s commitment to providing Australian companies greater opportunity to win work in high-value, high-tech projects that support the development of Australia’s sovereign defence industrial base,” Minister Reynolds said.

“The Sapphire Clock is more precise than current available commercial timing systems. When used within a radar system like the JORN, it has the potential to improve detection performance across Australia’s northern approaches.

“CryoClock’s leading-edge technology also has the potential to be used beyond Defence including in the communications, advanced computing and scientific research sectors.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Emeritus Professor David Blair, an Australian physicist who invented the first Sapphire Clock in 1984, during a visit to the OzGrav-UWA centre in Gingin, Western Australia last week.

“It is fascinating that this extremely precise timepiece, which was designed for improving clocks, radars and measuring systems, has the potential to be used in radar systems such as JORN.”

JORN is a vital strategic defence-wide area surveillance system that surveys the northern air and sea approaches of Australia out to a range of 3000 kilometres.

It is remotely operated from RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, with three radar sites located in Longreach (Qld), Laverton (WA) and Alice Springs (NT).

“This contract is part of this Government’s $270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade which is creating new jobs and delivering more opportunities for small businesses to thrive,” Minister Reynolds said.

“If successful, follow-on work is expected which will see a production and integration contract for the incorporation of the technology into JORN under Defence’s AIR2025 Phase 6 upgrade project.”

Defence’s investment in the technology coincides with CryoClock’s relocation into South Australia’s high-tech innovation precinct at LOT 14 alongside the Australian Space Agency and some of Australia’s most advanced technology companies.

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