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Latest News From Nova Systems


Apr 8, 2021

In the first step to formalise the Nova Group’s reconciliation journey, the company has launched its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which aims to support the development of respectful relationships and meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The plan, developed by a working group, outlines a strong framework of specific initiatives and actions that Nova Group will pursue over the next year in support of its commitment to reconciliation.

Nova Group CEO Jim McDowell said as an Australian owned and operated company, we have a crucial role to play in the reconciliation process and we’re proud to be among those businesses who are taking action.

“Our RAP aims to improve our relationships, create opportunities and deepen our awareness, understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures,” Mr McDowell said.

“It provides us with a basis for actions and accountability to ensure the organisation and our people implement measures that are relevant, authentic and effective.

“Our RAP is aligned with our values of Trust, Professionalism, Passion and Community. We intend for our RAP to become a representation of our culture in action, through which we can provide real solutions for the wider community.”

Mr McDowell and members of the Group’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, Action, and Leadership (IDEAL) strategy team have been involved in launching the RAP in offices around Australia.

The launch events included the unveiling of the Nova Group’s RAP artwork “Connections” (pictured) by artist Kiya Watts.

The painting represents the story of connection and partnership; when we all work together we are strongest. The animals, lands and ocean all have journeys and through connection and coming together our stories are made.

Nova’s reconciliation efforts began in 2019 following a review of the company’s IDEAL strategy, which prioritised activities in cultural diversity, gender diversity and youth and STEM.

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Nova Systems and the University of South Australia collaborate to grow local smarts in emerging capabilities

Mar 29, 2021

In an effort to support Australia’s growing space, defence and national security capabilities, Nova Systems and the University of South Australia (UniSA), have committed to explore opportunities for collaboration.

Nova Group CEO Jim McDowell and UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this week, in a commitment to working closely over the next five years in industries critical to the State’s economy.

The MoU is focused on growing the future pipeline of engineers and conducting industry and academic exchanges in emerging technology areas, with a particular emphasis on defence, national security and space.

It will see the organisations collaborate in a range of areas, including:

  • Staff and student placement opportunities including options to grow Nova’s award-winning Graduate Program.
  • Collaboration in research development and technology focused on defence, national security and space.
  • Joint development of training, education and short courses in support of defence, national security, and space industrial capability.

Nova Group CEO Jim McDowell said the signing strengthens the existing relationship between the organisations and would benefit the future workforce, who will be at the forefront of emerging technologies.

“As a 100% Australian owned and operated engineering services and technology solutions company, we are invested in working closely with academia to grow and sustain local smarts to solve complex challenges and keep our world safe and secure,” Mr McDowell said.

“This initiative will provide more opportunities for young Australians to gain industry insight, while at the same time studying at university, furthering the Australian Government’s efforts to create and sustain a local workforce of the future.

“By exchanging ideas and sharing best practice, students will gain new ideas about how to convert their learnings into practical solutions to support future capability requirements in the defence, national security and space domains.”

Collaboration in developing external short courses which support developing industrial capabilities will also be explored, including leveraging Nova’s established training in core capabilities, such Test and Evaluation.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said the MOU would enable collaboration on world-class research and the provision of employment opportunities for graduates.

“With Nova being one of Australia’s leading engineering services and technology companies and UniSA a leader in the sector for industry engagement, it makes sense for us to work together,’’ Prof Lloyd said.

“The defence industry is a critical part of the South Australian economy – it’s essential that, as a university, we work closely with industry to educate a local, high-tech defence workforce for the future.

“This partnership will provide a great opportunity for our students to gain industry experience, for the defence industry to benefit from our world-class defence research, and for our academics to embed themselves in the industry.’’

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Complex challenge - solved. And all within the space of 24 hours

Mar 25, 2021

When a ‘bat signal’ is sent to the Nova network in the face of disasters such as the floods in New South Wales this week, our superheroes in plain clothes do not waste a second before jumping to action.  

Flood data is rarely shared publicly given the rapidly changing environment and its devastating impact.  

On Monday, the two10degrees team (who sit within the Nova group of companies) came together quickly to respond to an urgent client request.  

The client wanted to incorporate flood information with their two10degrees in-vehicle monitoring solution, to assist their Operations Centre in monitoring the safety of maintenance vehicles travelling to help where power is down, networks are down, and our emergency services need technology support. 

Knowing another one of Nova’s specialist businesses, Geoplex, had the connections to find data this accurate quickly, the two10degrees team jumped into action with a cold-call to the Geoplex team. 

Understanding immediately the urgency of the request, Sydney based Geoplex Geospatial consultant Brittany Dahl began searching through her network to see if any satellite imagery of the floods had been released, noting that such data would not usually exist.  

To her amazement however, this time it did. 

The March 2021 floods had prompted the almost overnight creation of NSW Flood Hub, a collaboration between Geoscience Australia, EMSINA and Esri Australia.  

Geoscience Australia had published satellite imagery of the floods as captured by Copernicus – a company that provides information services via satellite Earth Observation and in-situ (non-space) data. 

A LinkedIn contact of Brittany who had worked on the Flood Hub shared the Hub to his network to get the word out quickly that the data existed, and it could assist in the crisis.  

Brittany instantly sent the information to Jemille Jenkins, Operations and Delivery Manager at two10degrees in Adelaide (who was at the time finishing up parent/teacher interviews for her children – we told you superheroes wear plain clothes) and Jemille forwarded the data to the UK two10degrees team who worked overnight (Australia time) to integrate it into GAP (Global Alerting Platform) for the client to access. 

Complex challenge – solved. And all within the space of just 24 hours. 

It doesn’t matter to which brand our services are attributed. With communication, collaboration, and a deep care for the safety of the people of our country, we are helping emergency services help people faster.

Check out this interactive satellite imagery of the floods thanks to Geoplex and our client Planet. 



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Mar 18, 2021

Nova Systems has welcomed 22 new starters to its Graduates Development Program – the highest intake of graduates since the program began.

The new recruits are primarily engineering and logistics graduates and will get the opportunity to work on a range of Defence projects and emerging technology capabilities, including test and evaluation, certification, systems assurance, intelligence and surveillance.

Jim McDowell, Nova Group CEO, said the additional 22 new recruits, made up of a 50-50 split of men and women, bring the total graduates the organisation has brought on since its establishment in 2016 to 76.

“Our graduate program demonstrates our clear commitment to grow our local talent pool by establishing and developing the continuous workforce pipeline required to meet Australia’s future Defence and national security needs,” said Mr McDowell.

“Our people-first culture, continuous learning options and supportive environment, are attractive to graduates.    “The interest and high calibre of applicants we receive each year rivals some of the biggest players in the industry.”

The graduates will be based in Canberra (eight), Melbourne (seven), Adelaide (three), and Brisbane (two) and Sydney (two).

Nova also has a work experience program where each year, up to 16 engineering students complete a 12-week program.

This year’s program took place in mid-February students were exposed to projects in Digital Engineering, autonomous ground vehicles, unmanned systems safety and weapons engineering. About 30 per cent of Nova work experience students go on to enter the graduate program.

The recruitment process for next year’s graduate program starts in March 2021 and we will be looking to expand the program to other professions as well as engineering.

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Mar 12, 2021

  • Nova Systems and OneSky, successfully completed trials for their proposed solution for the safe management of unmanned aircraft (UA) operations via an automated system. This is part of Nova Systems’ work under the MOT/CAAS UAS Call-for-Proposal project, ­­which seeks to develop technological capabilities for Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) services.


  • With R&D firmly focused on navigating Singapore’s unique urban environment, a multi-stakeholder approach continues to prove successful in the continued development of unmanned aircraft operations


  • The trial will form the basis of a roadmap that helps safely and efficiently usher in a large-scale rollout of UAS operations in Singapore


  • The trial allowed for the testing of numerous advanced UTM services, some not seen in any other project:   including flight planning and authorization, strategic deconfliction, conformance monitoring, real time alerts, dynamic rerouting, constraint management, inter-USS communication and Remote Identification capabilities. To learn more about the UTM system, read the OneSky blog.


Nova Systems (“Nova”), a multinational engineering services and technology solutions firm, and OneSky, a global UTM company developing airspace assessment, operations, and traffic management solutions, are pleased to announce the successful completion of Singapore’s first Unmanned Aircraft System (“UAS”) Traffic Management (“UTM”) trials.

This brings to a close a two-year consortium project, led by Nova, and co-founded as part of the UAS Call-For-Proposals (CFP) by the Ministry of Transport (“MOT”) and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (“CAAS”). It marks a significant milestone in Singapore’s journey towards a future driven by UAS technology, as private and government sector stakeholders look deeper into the possibility of the large-scale, integrated deployment of such technology in Singapore’s unique urban environment.

To conclude the trials, a UTM demonstration was held for CAAS on 10 March 2021. Using a mix of live flights and simulations, the demonstration showcased key developments and findings from the team’s work in UTM technologies over the past two years, in particular the handling of the mass deployment of drones flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight (“BVLOS”).

The technology developed and lessons learnt present numerous opportunities for Singapore’s UAS industry as a whole with large-scale drone deployment capable of supporting a range of critical operations, including surveillance patrols and delivery of essential supplies. Under pre-identified and monitored routes visualised through a UTM system, UAS operations are coordinated, regulated and safely integrated into our urban airways, ensuring the safety and security of all citizens.

The demonstration is the final stage of the project, which is co-funded by MOT and CAAS following their Call-For-Proposal (“CFP”) in 2017 to develop systems and technologies to enable the innovative and wide-ranging use of UAS in Singapore. Since the project began in October 2018, the consortium saw the successful completion of two suites of flight trials in April and December 2019, including a study of the operational suitability of 4G and 5G networks to safely support UAS operations in Singapore. The project was also supported by various leading industry partners, including Rohde & Schwarz, Scout Aerial, M1 Limited, F-drones, and Barrett Aerospace.

During the demonstration, three drones took to the skies near Marina South Pier under the UTM system framework prototype, the first of its kind in Singapore. To demonstrate the robustness of the UTM system, simulated flights were uploaded concurrently as well. Nova the first independent agencies to design and coordinate UTM trials to scale up multiple UAS operations within Singapore’s densely populated, high-rise, and tropical environment.

Mr Ryan Lee, Managing Director Asia at Nova Systems, said “We are grateful for the support of CAAS as we reach this major milestone today. While we are merely at the starting point of realising a future enhanced by UAS technology, the successful completion of Singapore’s first UTM trials serves as a catalyst to develop a robust and regulated UTM system. Designed specifically for our country’s unique landscape, our research and operations will support the continued development, deployment, and safe integration of UAS operations into the daily lives of Singaporeans. As we embark on this exciting future that will surely reshape traditional landscapes, we will continue to work closely with key stakeholders and partners to ensure the safe and secure deployment of UAS technology on a large scale.”

Bob Hammett, CEO of OneSky, said “We’re excited to have played a critical role in this successful UTM deployment – demonstrating the feasibility of safe and efficient integration of unmanned aircraft into the crowded airspace of Singapore. CAAS was an early proponent and thought leader for UTM and this trial marks a milestone in advancing Singapore’s Urban Air Mobility vision. We’re looking forward to expanding on this work and operationalising the technology across the region.”


A UTM system custom-made for Singapore

In Singapore and abroad, the immediate and long-term benefits of UAS technology have become increasingly evident. Growing demands for services such as last-mile delivery and mounting concerns over global issues like natural disasters and climate change have underscored the need to develop future-ready solutions to address the shortcomings of current urban infrastructures.

Locally, Singapore’s vision to become the world’s first Smart Nation has also accelerated the development and deployment of UAS operations on a greater scale. This includes plans to set up designated drone-flying areas, as well as the upcoming official launch of the Maritime Drone Estate, where drones can be tested for maritime applications.

However, Singapore’s urban environment also necessitates a gradual, well-coordinated, and carefully regulated approach to the large-scale deployment of UAS operations. The nation’s congested airspace, high population density, and tropical climate are just some of the unique challenges that a UTM system must address to establish robust networks and standards with the safety and security of all in mind.

The UTM project sought to address these critical issues, through rigorous testing to develop UTM technologies best fitted for Singapore’s unique landscape. Through its demonstration, the UTM technologies were validated in a range of real-life use cases in the maritime environment. These included shore-to-ship deliveries, vessel inspections, search and rescue flight profiles and general surveillance for security.

The demonstration also showcased how multiple drones could be deployed simultaneously in a safe and secure manner through the UTM system – via a network of pre-loaded flight routes submitted by multiple users, with the drones embarking on their individual flight paths within a framework fitted with early warning systems and geofencing to pre-empt any errant movements.

ST Engineering, which was one of the companies to be awarded the project under the CFP by MOT and CAAS to help develop and test solutions for shore-to-ship parcel delivery, supported the live trials by flying its own DroNet system simultaneously with Nova’s fleet. The trial successfully demonstrated the UTM system’s capabilities in managing large-scale BVLOS UAS operations and underscored the close collaboration that is needed among key industry players to facilitate the growth of a cohesive UAS ecosystem.


Opportunities on the horizon

The conclusion of Nova and OneSky’s joint project marks an early milestone in Singapore’s drive to develop a full-fledged UTM system for on-ground deployment. In the coming years, the two companies     will work closely together with authorities and key industry players to develop the technologies, regulatory frameworks, operating rules and performance standards to build this system.

In the near future, citizens can look forward to UAS technologies empowering and improving their lives, through raised productivity, efficiency and flexibility of operations across a range of industries – from delivery and transport companies, to healthcare providers, to the construction and real estate sectors. These opportunities chart Singapore’s upward trajectory towards building a smarter, safer and more secure UAS-enabled future for all its citizens.

The successful completion of the project also drives new frontiers in the development of Urban Air Mobility (“UAM”) services in Singapore. The development of a UTM system is a critical component in allowing new unmanned aircraft, such as air taxis and delivery drones, to share the skies safely with existing manned aircraft. Tapping on the expertise in manned aircraft test and evaluation by its sister companies – which include global civil aerospace engineering firm GVH Aerospace, Australia-based geospatial firm Geoplex, and UK-based software as a service firm two10degrees, the project’s findings will provide a valuable resource for local authorities to develop technologies and regulatory frameworks to enable a multimodal mobility system in a safe and efficient manner.

With the long-term intent to build and create safe and secure global cities that are empowered by technology, Nova and OneSky are committed to enabling the safe, beneficial, and innovative use of UAS technologies during this critical period in urban history.


About UTM Systems

An Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) is an air traffic management ecosystem that is designed to autonomously control UAS operations, which include the flying of drones and air taxis.

Just like the commercial aircraft we travel on today are monitored and directed by human controllers, the flying machines of tomorrow must rely on a carefully regulated UTM system, fit for the environment they are operated in, to ensure the safety and security of users and those around them.

However, even more intricate than directing air traffic, a UTM system is designed to manage a fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) performing a range of operations – including deliveries, advanced air mobilities or inspections in and around urban areas. A UTM system needs to be highly automated and intelligent, relying on a network of systems communicating with each other to be able to manage the scale of simultaneous operations.

In Singapore for instance, the implementation of a UTM system would necessitate coordination between government stakeholders such as the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to establish a system of policies and regulations that address road safety, air traffic control, network capabilities, cyber security and national security.

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