Defence visit to Steber factory

Defence visit to Steber factory

The unmanned surface vessel, SSS Bluebottle, was the centre of attention during a defence visit at Steber International’s Taree factory complex.

Federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Darren Chester MP was accompanied by Federal Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie.

The two-day tour also included inspections of several Port Macquarie-based businesses including Bale Defence Industries and the Birdon Group, prompting Dr Gillespie to declare the Mid North Coast is becoming a “centre of excellence” for small to medium-sized defence projects.

The Bluebottle has sparked plenty of interest both in Australia and overseas for its innovative security and surveillance capabilities.

Unique in design, the Bluebottle uses wind, solar and wave power to sail to and around defined areas of the ocean. Solar provides the power to run electronic surveillance and transmission opersations.

The combined rudder/flipper system of water propulsion enables tacking upwind and in conjunction with anti-collision software, ensures efficient operation.

Economies of scale also come into play, e.g. 50 personnel may be required to operate one naval vessel but 50 unmanned surface vessels (USVs) can be operated remotely by one person, on-shore and away from potential danger.