Sunshine Coast manufacturer Raider Targetry is advancing defence training with cutting-edge innovations in high-fidelity live-fire training targets.
From its head office in Kunda Park, Raider Targetry uses technology to solve challenging defence training problems, backed by a global R&D network and a robust Sunshine Coast manufacturing sector.
In 2022, Raider Targetry clocked up some significant achievements including securing its first international contract and being a finalist in the Advanced Technologies category of the Sunshine Coast Business Awards.
Raider Targetry co-founder Associate Professor Mick Fielding said the company moved to the Sunshine Coast from Geelong in early 2020 and hasn’t looked back.
“The Sunshine Coast was an obvious choice given the existing manufacturing industry, growth around the airport expansion and proximity to Brisbane,” A/Prof Fielding said.
“The Sunshine Coast is also one of the most beautiful places to live and definitely a big drawcard when attracting new staff.”
But not only that, having recently hired three new team members who were already living on the Sunshine Coast A/Prof Fielding says that it’s great to see such high quality local talent in the region to pull from.
Propelling training technology
Australian and world-first technology
Raider systems are used to recreate high fidelity scenarios that soldiers may face on a battlefield. The core technology of the business is a mobile self-propelled electric system capable of moving a wide range of target combinations at speeds approaching 40 km/h.
This Mobile Moving Target System (MMTS), comprises a tractor, trailer, and a target that can be configured to represent any vehicle type, including land vehicles and aircraft. It can be easily set up, moved or reconfigured on-site without special tools, vehicles or lifting equipment and is a more dynamic option compared with traditional rudimentary moving targets.
“We keep a close eye on the world of targetry, and as far as we’re aware today, there’s nothing as versatile, as configurable or as survivable as our technology,” A/Prof Fielding said.
Raider Targetry’s technology is 100% Australian-designed, owned, manufactured and sustained.
The technology has enabled some impressive Australian firsts in training, including the first engagement of a Javelin missile at a moving target, the first moving live-fire target on a ridge line, and the first moving training target for many of Australia’s in-service weapon systems.
This has all been made possible due to their unique technology, which removes many of the limitations of traditional training targets.
Business networks drive agility and growth
After moving to the Sunshine Coast, Raider found initial support through the Sunshine Coast Manufacturing Excellence Forum which introduced them to a network of businesses across the region.
The purpose of the forum is to support the growth of Sunshine Coast manufacturing by providing centralised support and by reducing the barriers to resources and information that drive growth.
A/Prof Fielding said this support helped Raider secure 80 per cent of their supply network within the first six months of arriving on the coast.
“We’ve found that working with smaller companies allows our team and theirs to be really agile in terms of how we develop new technology. On many occasions, we’ve come up with solutions that perhaps neither of us could have arrived at in isolation,” he said.
STEM focus builds local talent
The Sunshine Coast is recognised as a place where emerging tech talent, young techpreneurs and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) high achievers flourish. Incubators, coding hubs, tech innovation challenges and a series of awards and prizes create opportunities for young tech minds.
Now expanding, Raider Targetry is drawing from the growing pool of STEM talent on the Sunshine Coast to build a well-rounded workforce.
The business grew from five to 12 full-time employees in 2022 and expects to grow to 15 FTE by late 2023. A remarkable achievement through what has been a challenging 24 months for many companies.
Local students have been gaining industry experience through Raider internships while making meaningful contributions to the workforce, some going on to employment.
“We’ve been able to find some really good talent in the local area to fill positions that have been created as we’ve grown and certainly look forward to employing locally as we continue to expand,” said A/Prof Fielding.
“We’re really glad about the choice to move to the Sunshine Coast and as the region continues to grow in the decades to come, it will be a really exciting place to be and we can’t wait.”