Secure communications, machine learning applied to cyber threats and software to bring civilian intel products up to military standards are among the innovations receiving investment from Defence, it has been announced.\nMore than $12 million has been awarded to eight companies as part of the second tranche of Defence Innovation Hub investments.\n \nAlthough some of those companies will use the funding to develop weapons and aircraft (including a re-usable supersonic sea skimming target missile and an autonomous glider) many of those receiving the funding boost have non-hardware focus.\nQuantum cyber security company QuintessenceLabs, has received $3,261,000 to "explore the feasibility of the establishment of highly secure communications links between two points". \nFounded a decade ago, the ACT-based company offers an encryption key and policy management system backed by quantum generated true random numbers. Westpac Group increased its stake in the firm earlier this year.\n \nData to Decisions Co-Operative Research Centre was established last year with a $25 million government grant to \u201ctackle the Big Data challenges that face Australia's national security agencies\u201d. The centre has received a $1,054,000 Defence investment to develop a cyber-threat intelligence capability which \u201ccould assist enterprise and mission systems in identifying and treating potential adversary exploitations\u201d.\n \nA $275,000 innovation contract between Defence and Saber Astronautics Australia will be used to develop machine learning technology for the autonomous identification and modelling of electronic threats.\n \nA similar value contract was awarded to Melbourne-based SYPAQ Systemsto develop software that \u201ceffectively trains networks to learn how to interpret non-standard intelligence products and convert them to comply with appropriate format standards\u201d, Defence said.\n \n\u201cThis investment will see a number of organisations across Australia benefit from this initiative to develop game changing defence equipment,\u201d Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said.\n \n\u201cIt will help support a number of local jobs across Australia and keep local defence industry involved in the latest innovation for Australia\u2019s defence.\u201d \nThe Defence Innovation Hub launched in December last year. As part of the first tranche of investments \u2013 announced last month \u2013 a $97,000 contract was forged between Defence and Sydney-based Berkeley Information Technology to provide a software solution to protect documents used on Defence information and communication systems.\n \nThe technology \u201chas the potential to negate unintentional data breaches as well as malicious insider attacks\u201d, Defence said at the time.\n \nNew targets\nThe investments signal the change within Defence to recognise electronic threats and expand its cyber capabilities, noted in its Defence White Paper of last year.\n \nLate last year Defence released an updated ICT strategy intended to help it implement the \u2018One Defence\u2019 reform program, and the priorities outlined in the white paper. In total, Defence plans to invest $20 billion over 10 years in ICT to implement the strategy.\n \nLast month, the government announced it was launching a new \u2018Information Warfare Division\u2019 responsible for \u2018electronic warfare\u2019.\n \nThe unit will be responsible for \u201cmilitary cyber operations, military intelligence, joint electronic warfare, information operations and space operations\u201d and authorised to conduct self-defence, passive defence,active defence and offensiveoperations.