July 20, 2018

Trump’s Constant Indiscreet Tweets Aid Hostile Intelligence Agencies

INTELNEWS, July 3, 2018, reports:

"...according to former Central Intelligence Agency analyst Nada Bakos, foreign intelligence agencies are among those paying close attention to the president’s tweets...

...All intelligence agencies, explains Bakos, build psychological profiles of foreign leaders. These profiles typically rely on information collected through intelligence operations that are “methodical, painstaking and often covert”. The final product can be crucial in enabling countries to devise strategies that counter their adversaries, says Bakos. But with Trump, covert intelligence-collection operations are not needed in order to see what is on his mind, since “the president’s unfiltered thoughts are available night and day”, she claims. 

The former CIA analyst points out that President Trump’s tweets are posted “without much obvious mediation” by his aides and advisors, something that can be seen by the frequency with which he deletes and reposts tweets due to spelling and grammatical errors. These unfiltered thoughts on Twitter offer a “real-time glimpse of a major world leader’s preoccupations, personality quirks and habits of mind”, says Bakos.

...[Bakos] clearly thinks that the US leader’s use of social media is too impulsive and potentially dangerous from a national-security perspective...."


If only the leaders of Russia and China were as indiscreet as the random Trump!

July 19, 2018

China & Russia Fear Islamic Terrorism as much as West Does

INTELNEWS on July 11, 2018 reports:

"Intelligence directors from Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan met on Tuesday to discuss regional cooperation with particular reference to combating the Islamic State in Afghanistan. Information about the high-level meeting was revealed yesterday by Sergei Ivanov, media spokesman for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). Ivanov told Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency that the meeting was held in Pakistan and included the participation of SVR director Sergei Naryshkin. TASS reported that the meeting was held under the auspices of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate and was attended by “senior intelligence officials” from Pakistan, Russia, Iran and China..."


Pakistani agencies (including ISI) had many organisational and personal links with al Qaeda and, of course, the Taliban from the 1980s to the 2000s, but Pakistani agency links with Islamic State have not yet matured. This is partly because Islamic State is more extreme and frequently less venal ie. less bribe-able.

The makeup of the meeting reinforces strategic alliance realities that Pakistan is dependent on China for much missile, nuclear weapons' developments and now submarine building. Meanwhile Iran is dependent on Russia in many respects, including deterring any Boltonesque US-Israeli bombing of Iran.

Overall the meeting recognises China and Russia fear Islamic terrorist attacks as much as Western countries (eg. US, UK, France) as well as India. 

Spain's new S-80 Plus submarine 'too big for its dock'

Also see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-80-class_submarine for the S-80’s broader problems and specs.

July 18, 2018

Months or Years? Obama's Image ended a perfectly good US Counter-Terrorism Process

In an operation smaller than the much larger US operation that monitored Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda guests in Abbottabad, Pakistan, from 2005 to 2011 (then international exploitation of the intelligence gained):

INTELNEWS JULY 17, 2018 reports:

“A joint Indian-American counterintelligence operation, described as “unprecedented in its scale and scope”, reportedly foiled a major suicide attack by the Islamic State in New Delhi and helped achieve “a string of victories” against the group in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Citing “top diplomatic and intelligence sources”, the New Delhi-based daily The Indian Express said that the “audacious” operation took place a year ago, but details about it were only made available to its reporters in recent days...”


Looking back again to Abbottabad - so many massive counter-terrorism operations continue for years below the surface. As ever, “discoveries” just a few months old that boost a US President’s (in 2011 Obama's) counter-terrorism credentials, actually concern operations of great value that lasted several years. The SEALS Abbottabad operation, requiring the planned execution of bin Laden, supported Obama's image as, not only a Democrat with a conscience, but Obama the hard-nosed "National Security President".

Taiwan's New Submarine Project Wildly Underfunded and Optimistic

It is interesting that countries-companies have been variously reported as submitting submarine designs for Taiwan’s (once again) US endorsed submarine building project. These may be:

-  1 or 2 Indian firms. Though India has never built a conventional submarine other than assembling
   foreign designed submarines. Even the strikingly Russian Delta SSBN-like INS Arihant owes much
   to Russian design assistance especially due to the need to integrate a basically Russian designed
   reactor into it.

-  1 or 2 Japanese firms (MHI and KHI). Though Japan has not built an export submarine since the 
   Matchanu class, for Thailand, in the 1930s. Japan also scrupulously protects its submarine design
   secrets. Notoriously PRC intelligence penetrated Taiwan may not be a secure customer. Matthias
   Halblaub has drawn my attention to this link that indicates even US companies are not secure
   against Chinese intelligence hacking.

-  2 US firms. Though the US has not built conventional submarines since the Barbel class of the
   1950s, and

-  2 unnamed European companies (perhaps from Sweden, France, Germany, Spain or the

As The Diplomat’s (paysite’s) reminded on July 12, 2018 Taiwan allocated a paltry US$65.66 million to complete design work on its future submarines. Then Taiwan is over-optimistic in compressing milestonesto build a fleet of eight domestically designed SSKs, each displacing around 1,500 tons, with the first boat entering sea-trials by 2024 followed by its first operational deployment in 2026."


I argued in April 2018 "BACKGROUND-COMMENTS" that Taiwan is likely relying on updating existing teardrop designs (from Netherlands, Japanese or US companies) which all draw on the US’s sixty year old Barbel design. See Wiki

"The Zwaardvis-class submarine of the Netherlands and [Taiwan's] Hai Lung-class...(built and sold by the Netherlands) were developments of the Barbel class design. The Japanese Uzushio class and its successors were also influenced by the Barbel class."

Taiwan would need fundamental updates to be competitive against China. Major upgrades needed include up to date quiet diesels, new electric motors and broader electrical fitout, new snorkel, new quieting technologies all over the sub, new sonars, photonic masts, computers and other electronics, anechoic tiles, new pressure hull steel and the vast number of other new submarine innovations since the 1950s. The US$65.66 million Taiwan is talking about wouldn’t even cover new sonar integration.

Perhaps Taiwan intends to rely financially and time-wise on a sympathetic US interpretation of America's Taiwan Relations Act (effective 1979). This ambiguously states that "the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capabilities". Time and Trump's changeable nature will tell.

A PRC-Hong Kong South China Morning Post article of July 19, 2018 subsequently carried many of the arguments stated above.


July 16, 2018

SubMatts quiet since June 11, 2018 due to Dad’s Death

Dad in the 1970s.

1.  Below is Dad's Obituary, by Major General (retired) Peter Phillips  AO  MC
        (who was also one of Dad's Duntroon classmates) 

         in the Sydney Morning Herald (online) and

        (a very similar version) in hardcopy in the Canberra Times (and also online) on 
        July 14, 2018, page 24.

This Obituary is an abridged version of the Eulogy delivered by Peter Phillips at Dad’s Funeral, at Duntroon Chapel, Canberra, on July 12, 2018.

JOHN COATES December 28, 1932 – June 11, 2018

Distinguished soldier and scholar

The former army chief went on to become an acclaimed military historian.

Lieutenant-General John Coates, a former chief of the Australian Army, died on the Queen's birthday weekend. Perhaps that was fitting: he entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1952, just as the Queen ascended to the throne, and served loyally in her army for 40 years. By any reckoning, his service was remarkable. Aside from reaching the army's top position as chief of the general staff, he went on to be an outstanding military historian before his death at age 85.
In his own words, Coates described his childhood as "inauspicious". He had little family life and boarded at Ipswich Grammar for nine years. He spent the summer holiday, before entering the school, playing with other boys in Albert Park in Brisbane. He befriended a young American boy, Arthur MacArthur, who lived in the nearby Lennon's Hotel. Together, they played war games in 1942: Coates, who would one day lead Australia's army, and MacArthur, the son of the supreme allied commander in the Pacific.
At Ipswich Grammar, Coates was senior prefect and excelled at sport. He was a member of the first XI, the GPS athletics team and the school tennis team, which included Roy Emerson. He was also a cadet lieutenant, which fostered his interest in a military career. The headmaster, Richard Morrison, said Coates was a loyal and distinguished scholar.

From Duntroon, Coates was commissioned into the Royal Australian Armoured Corps in 1955 and served with the 1st Armoured Regiment in Puckapunyal. He learnt his trade as a troop leader on Centurion tanks.
In 1956, he and others were detached to help run the Melbourne Olympics. At the Games, Coates scored a plum job commanding the ceremonial guard at the Games village. Being a tall, good-looking, eligible bachelor, he attracted much attention from female athletes, especially – but not wholly – from the Australian team. Pixmagazine christened him "Dreamboat". Flattering as this might seem, Coates was less than pleased when this nickname spread throughout the regiment and the army! 

A year later, he married Diana Begg in Adelaide. She was a noted athlete herself who played tennis at state level, and as a talented artist and designer before she took up nursing at the Adelaide Children's Hospital. They moved to Perth in 1958 where Coates was adjutant of the 10th Light Horse Regiment. It was the start of his close association with the Army Reserve, which he championed later in his service. 

He then returned to Puckapunyal to round out his experience in a tank squadron.

Coates was posted to Duntroon in 1963 and lectured in military history. He was offered a scholarship at the Australian National University, which he was unable to take up, but began a masters thesis on the Malayan Emergency, which he finished after a sabbatical in 1974.
From Duntroon, Coates sailed with family to join the Royal Scots Greys (now Royal Scots Dragoon Guards) on exchange as a squadron commander in the British Army on the Rhine. He adjusted quickly to working with one of Britain's aristocratic regiments and won the trust of his British cavalry subordinates. His commanding officer was Lieutenant-Colonel John Stanier, later a field marshal and Britain's chief of the Imperial General Staff. Stanier highly commended his Australian squadron commander and remained a friend.
On returning to Australia, Coates attended the army's Australian Staff College at Fort Queenscliff before taking command of a squadron of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, earmarked for service in Vietnam. Beginning in April 1970, he was to spend 14 months in Vietnam. First, he was an armoured personnel squadron commander taking part in "clear, hold and build missions". He helped developed the technique of ambushing armoured personnel carriers. He was proud of his crews, one of whom, Sergeant Ed Levy, he successfully recommended for the distinguished conduct medal.
Coates' own bravery was never in question. On May 27, 1970, in action as officer commanding B Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, he commanded a relief force sent to stabilise the situation near Xuyen Moc, Phuoc Tuy Province, where the enemy had over-run a Vietnamese post. He was supporting infantry from the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ron Grey. Grey, who was later to be a major-general commanding the army's land forces and a federal police commissioner, remarked that "Coates's action in personally taking the lead armoured personnel carrier into the village at full throttle was inspirational and an extraordinary feat of personal valour". He was made a member of the Order of the British Empire and awarded the Republic of Vietnam cross of gallantry with gold star.
Coates was also commended for his later work as operations officer or "brigade major" on Headquarters 1st Australian Task Force. He disliked the "body count" used by American forces as a measure of success and discouraged its use by Australian units. From Vietnam, he returned to Duntroon to be commanding officer of the Corps of Staff Cadets. He was much involved in the changes necessary following the 1970 Fox report on the "bastardisation" of Duntroon cadets. A decade later, he returned to Duntroon as commandant and found that some "hazing" still continued, which he systematically set about removing.
In [1975 and 1976], Coates was attached to the United States armoured training centre at Fort Hood, where he enjoyed working with the innovative commander, General Bill De Puy, and George S. Patton IV, son of another famous US general. 
Coates was especially interested in the use of assessment exercises for units, which he promoted in his next post as a colonel in the army's land forces headquarters. During that time in Sydney, he was involved in dealing with the 1978 Hilton Hotel bombing episode and in other contingency planning.
In 1981, he attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in Britain before returning to Canberra. Then, in 1984, Coates was appointed defence attache in Washington, where he watched over Australia's interests alongside ambassador Rawdon Dalrymple and in dealings with US defence secretary Casper Weinberger.
In 1987, he was appointed to head defence policy in the Australian Defence Force headquarters before taking command of the army as chief of the general staff. He was much involved in affairs in the ASEAN region and, like his predecessors, worked to strengthen links with their armies. 
Coates was made a companion of the Order of Australia before he retired in 1992.
Coates then began an association with the Australian Defence Force Academy's history department. Professor Peter Dennis said Coates "was both a productive scholar and an engaging colleague". At Dennis' suggestion, Coates published his master's thesis on the early part of the Malayan Emergency to positive reviews.
Coates then wrote some of the major campaign entries in The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History. His next book, Bravery above Blunder, was a detailed study of the performance of the 9th Division on the Huon Peninsula in 1943-44. These works combined rigorous and extensive research with the keen eye of an experienced soldier, and were extremely well received.

Coates' most ambitious project, An Atlas of Australia's Wars, was first published in 2001 as part of The Australian centenary history of defence that he and Dennis produced. Atlas was an enormous undertaking, requiring endless consultations with cartographer Keith Mitchell, and researching and writing the essays that accompanied each map. The series received outstanding reviews but there is no doubt that Coates' Atlas was the crowning glory. 

The University of NSW awarded Coates an honorary doctorate in 2011, in recognition of his services to scholarship, particularly military history.

Dennis said Coates was a wonderful colleague, ready to engage in argument but always open to correction or disagreement. His Atlas will be a boon to young military professionals for years to come. Dennis went on to say that "as I look back on Australian military history, I cannot think of any other senior officer who came close to John's achievements as a historian. John truly exemplified the idea of a 'soldier/scholar' ".

Coates is survived by Diana, their children Tina, Peter and Michael, and four grandchildren."
----------------------------------------------------------2.  Below is a poem written and delivered by Peter Coates
(intelligence general, country undefined, but good) 
part of the Family Eulogy at Dad’s Funeral Duntroon Chapel Canberra, July 12. 2018
"After talking to Dad for many years I’ve written a short poem that imagines:


When tomorrow starts without me
Just like yesterday
On this cold Winter afternoon
I have some things to say.

In 1970
I expected Vietnam would kill me
My end coming by a mine or RPG
Blowing up my APC.

But I lived 48 more years
Till 85 years old
Two diseases promised life till 2020
Then my heart gave out early.

I know I wasn’t perfect
Many things I regret
I had my faults
But please forgive me yet.

Life needs more forgiving
That’s the way we learn
It bonds us all together
For the better life we yearn

If I could relive yesterday
Even for a while
I’d crack a joke
And make you laugh
And even make you smile.

So when tomorrow starts without me
Don’t think we’re far apart
For every time you think of me
I’m right here in your heart."

June 8, 2018

2015 News: Damen & Saab Long Been Talking Netherlands Submarine Replacement


The June 1, 2018 Damen-Saab Netherlands submarine replacement design details via Dutch site De Telegraaf (then via other Dutch sites and English language sites) seems to be old news, little changed from 2015. It appears to be Damen-Saab advertising for just one of the Netherlands Walrus replacement submarine possibilities.

The Netherlands government and commercial entities have had ongoing talks with competing submarine builders over the last few years on possibilites for the Walrus replacement. These include:

-  TKMS (perhaps offering an enlarged Type 209, 212 or 214)
-  Naval Group (enlarged Scorpene or small Shortfin) and
-  Navantia, as the S-80 Plus (also at) will already displace 3,300 tonnes it may not need a size
   adjustment for the Netherlands).

The Netherlands has been actually mid-life overhauling/upgrading its current four Walrus class submarines to continue operating through the mid to late 2020s. So replacement submarines, from any of the four competitors, might only be launched from 2029 onwards.

Submarines Matters has recorded Netherlands-Swedish discussions since 2015. See

"Sweden and the Netherlands Replacement Submarine Needs, February 19, 2015"
"Saab-Damen Agreement

Since mid-late January 2015 there have been several reports that Saab and Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group have signed an exclusive teaming agreement. This is to:

- explore future opportunities in the international submarine market including bidding jointly on submarine procurement programmes, and

- explore development of a potential Walrus-class submarine replacement for the Netherlands. 

...Possible Swedish Role

While Sweden is building its own two A26s Sweden might build the two to four Walrus replacements or at least supply the components for assembly in the Netherlands. 

Sweden's 3 Gotland Class submarines  (launched 1995-96) need replacing by 2025 and 2 Sodermanland class (relaunched 2003) for replacement by 2035(?).

Some extra issues/questions are:

...4. Would there be some technical, industrial and political overlap in the Walrus-class submarine replacement and development and construction of Sweden's future submarine A26?

5. Would the Netherlands find only 2 Walrus replacement submarines an effective number, given the "rule" of three and usefulness to the US alliance experience with the 4 Walruses. 

6. Could the Netherlands continue to justify unusually large SSKs or scale down to the usual European country own use maximum of around 1,900 tons surfaced?"

and in 2017 

Dutch Submarine Talks With TKMS & Kockums, not with DCNS, March 2, 2017
"...The Dutch Government continues informal talks with Germany and Sweden on Walrus submarine replacement issues. Surprisingly there was not the previous firm resolve from Dutch naval high command that replacement subs be built in the Netherlands..."


It is also old news that Saab is developing a diver swim out/UUV launch "Multimission Portal" horizontal tube in the torpedo tube room.

See Saab Website "Story" of 21 April 2015:

"[Multimission Portal] Saab's A26 design includes a new innovative 6m x 1.5m Multimission Portal flexible payload capability with a lock system in addition to its conventional torpedo tubes. The lock system makes it easy for commandos to enter and exit the boat, and is large enough to allow the launch and retrieval of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles."

Note the diver swimout Multimission Portal tube at the bow of  the above Saab A26 design. This Saab design artwork was in a Saab "Story" dated 21 April 2015. So the June 2018 Saab-Damen news announcements contain little new.

Like the glacial paced Australian Future Submarine program the Netherlands Walrus Submarine replacement may well take a decade till launch.


June 6, 2018

Australia not attending US/India/Japan Naval Exercise MALABAR 2018


Australia has chosen not to participate in Exercise MALABAR 2018. This is very likely due to Australia’s desire not to offend its largest trading partner and regional strategic threat, China. Way back in 2007 I wrote a MALABAR 2007 article for Newsweekly. In 2007 Australia did participate.

China is concerned MALABAR is just one manifestation of an informal "Quadrilateral" US/Japan/India/Australia alliance (or security dialogue) designed to contain Chinese military power in the Indian and Western Pacific oceans. China usually succeeds in dissuading Australia, the weakest member, from being fully active in the Quadrilateral.


Dinakar Peri for The Hindu, June 5, 2018, reports from New Delhi 

"War games to hone anti-submarine skills

Malabar exercise from June 7 to 16. - The Navies of India, Japan and the U.S. will enhance their anti-submarine warfare skills in this year’s Malabar naval war games to be held off the coast of Guam [in the Western Pacific Ocean] from June 7 to 16.

For the first time in a Malabar exercise, all three Navies are deploying their maritime reconnaissance (MR) aircraft to sharpen those skills.

“Each side has aircraft which can lay sono buoys and we will also monitor each other’s sono buoys. We will cross-attach people from all three countries,” the Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral G. Ashok Kumar, said.

While the Indian Navy is deploying a P-8I long-range MR aircraft, the U.S. is deploying two P-8A aircraft and Japan is sending a Kawasaki P-1 MR aircraft. In addition, Japan and the U.S. have anti-submarine warfare helicopters on board their helicopter carrier JS Ise and aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, respectively.

[So ships include:
-  India’s frigate INS Sahyadri, fleet tanker INS Shakti and large corvette INS Kamorta all from
   India's Fleet Base East at Vishakhapatnam
-  USS Ronald Reagan, Aegis class cruisers USS Antietam and Chancellorsville, some destroyers and
   Los Angeles class submarine USS Pasadena (SSN-752), and
-  Japan's Hyuga class helicopter destroyer JS Ise, Takanami class destroyer JS Suzunami, and
   Akizuki class destroyer JS Fuyuzuki. For the very first time Japan is deploying an (unnamed) Soryu
   class submarine.]

...[Exercise MALABAR] began in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the US and has over the years increased in scope and complexity with particular focus on ASW in view of increasing Chinese submarine movement in the Indian Ocean under the garb of anti-piracy patrols."


June 5, 2018

Russian intelligence - first Snowden now Trump

Thought for the day.

Putin, an ex intelligence officer, sets the overall strategy for Russian foreign policy including Russian intelligence. Russian intelligence operates on the established international political zero-sum game principle, ie: “The more the Western alliance is destabilized the better Russia is doing.”

Hence Russia was highly enthusiastic about harbouring Edward Snowden, who carried information that caused distrust between the US government and US public and tension between the US and many of its allies.

And conspiracy theorists might now be correct in concluding Russian help for Trump’s campaign put a man in the Presidency guaranteed generate ongoing tension in US society and within the Western alliance.


June 1, 2018

A Future Australian-Singaporean Rocket May Provide Nuclear Capability


As the US Government sends out mixed, often contradictory, signals to allies and opponents, more countries are hedging with research into components maybe for future nuclear capabilities. For example Japan has long been developing and using the 1,500kg payload Epsilon rocket (see context).

Now Australia and Singapore may be entering the beginnings (in 2 decades?) of nuclear (payload) capable rocket development. Multi-stage rockets of sufficient size and range provide dual civilian/military possibilities.

Rocket engine tests, launch pads and test flights are not possible in Singapore's extremely limited
721.5 kmland area, in which  5.612 million people are crowded. The sea around Singapore, crowded with ships, is also ill-suited to be a test range. 

In contrast Australia has used its wide open spaces to test rockets for decades at RAAF Woomera Range Complex, South Australia. Some Australians have also suggested Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia, as a potential launch siteCape York is better suited in terms of  Earth rotational physics and avoiding populated areas. This is because Cape York is nearer the Equator and rockets can be fired easterly and more safely over the Coral Sea.


Gilmour Space March 2018: 70 kN of thrust (15,700 lbs) generated in what could be the world's largest successful test fire of a single-port hybrid rocket engine. The test was held in Australia.

"Gilmour Space prepares for suborbital hybrid rocket launch with 75 kN (16,900 lbs) test-fire

May 29, 2018

 “Our low-cost launch capability could provide a significant comparative (and competitive) advantage to Australia and Singapore’s new space industry.”

- Adam Gilmour, CEO & Founder, Gilmour Space Technologies

AUSTRALIA & SINGAPORE, MAY 28, 2018 – [Australian-Singaporean] rocket company, Gilmour Space Technologies, has completed a longer duration test-fire of its proprietary hybrid rocket engine, bringing it one step closer to launching Australia and Singapore's first privately-developed commercial rockets to space. 

"This was a 12-second static fire of what will be our first-stage orbital rocket engine. It demonstrated stable thrust, and peaked at 75 kilonewtons (or 16,900 pounds) of force,” said the company’s CEO and Founder, Adam Gilmour. An earlier test in March had generated 70 kN, reportedly then the world’s largest successful test of a single-port hybrid rocket engine.

“75 kN marks a new record for this engine, and is more than what we will need for our coming suborbital and orbital launches,” he added. (Watch test-fire video)

Next stop: Suborbital space

Gilmour Space is planning a suborbital test launch in the third quarter of this year, and is working with the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to approve the launch from a remote private property in Queensland.

“Our first test rocket launch in mid 2016 was a sub-scale demonstration of our new hybrid engine technology, and its success led to our Series A investment,” he explained. 

“The next launch will be the flight test of a full-scale engine, which we plan to use in the first stage of our Eris orbital rocket.” 'Eris' is the company's three-stage hybrid rocket dedicated to launching small satellites (up to 400 kg) to Low Earth Orbit by 2020.

“It will also be a test of our mobile launch platform, which we've designed to enable rapid and low-cost launches from remote locations,” he added. "Interestingly, this capability for responsive launch is one that other countries like the US, Europe and UK are trying very hard to develop right now." 

Being new, being nimble

This latest test-fire comes just two weeks after the Australian government officially launched the Australian Space Agency and released details of a nine-month space industry review. 

The report included recommendations to support 'next generation’ rocket propulsion systems, and make necessary changes to the Space Activities Act to enable commercial small satellite launches from Australia. 

"With Gilmour Space's technology and low-cost launch capabilities, small satellite launches could easily be a 'low-hanging fruit' for Australia. Our significant progress puts us as one of the front-runners in today's global small launch market, and we look forward to working with commercial, civil and defence partners to build a stronger and more vibrant domestic space industry in Australia and Singapore."

To the stars.


Gilmour Space Technologies is an Australia and Singapore-based rocket company that is developing low-cost launch vehicles for the small satellite/payload market.

Key milestones since beginning its rocket program in 2015:
  • June 2016: Gilmour Space first made headlines when it successfully flew the countries'first privately developed hybrid rocket to an altitude of 5 Km using proprietary 3D printed fuel (reportedly a world-first demonstration).
  • June 2017: It raised AUD 5 million (USD 3.7 million) in Series-A funding from venture capital firms Blackbird Ventures and 500 Startups, among others. Gilmour Space has also been awarded various R&D grants in Singapore and Australia.
  • August 2017: Successfully ground tested a high-impulse Cubesat Propulsion System, which could potentially power a 1U cubesat to the orbit of the Moon or Mars.
  • January 2018: Announced results of its first full-scale orbital engine test in December, which generated 45 kN in a low-pressure test fire.
  • March 2018: 70 kN of thrust (15,700 lbs) generated in what could be the world's largest successful test fire of a single-port hybrid rocket engine.

Considered one of the leading space startups in Australia and Singapore, Gilmour Space is scaling up to launch their first rockets to suborbital space in 2018, and to LEO in 2020.


Michelle Gilmour
Director, Marketing & Communications, Gilmour Space Technologies
Singapore Tel: (+65) 9106 6714
Australia Tel: (+61) 0408 973 296 – James Gilmour (Director & Co-Founder)

General enquiries: info@gspacetech.com
Facebook: Gilmourspacetech 
Twitter: @GilmourSpace