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Rheinmetall Defence Australia

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Umesh Mutubandara

I was born in Sri-Lanka and migrated to Rockhampton in Central Queensland in 2006. As far back as I could remember, I was fascinated by aircrafts, which no doubt led me in the path of engineering.

What's your job about?

Rheinmetall Defence is a leading provider of innovative products in defence for Australia and other international customers.

Rheinmetall Defence will provide the ADF with the new Boxer CRV as part of the LAND400 Phase 2 Program. Currently, I’m on international assignment as a Systems Developer/Engineer in Germany with Rheinmetall Electronics. My major area of responsibility is in developmental test and evaluation to verify functionality of Mission Equipment Electronics and Software at the component and system level.

My daily tasks include developing test methods for software verification and then creating automated software tests to verify these test methods. On other days, I am involved with integration and system level verification activities within the Laboratory or travelling off-site for extended system commissioning, testing and evaluation.

Last thing I worked on was the Lance II turret commissioning work at a test facility about 2 hrs drive from our HQ. My tasks primarily included checking functionalities and isolating problems during live testing. I would also be corresponding with development teams at HQ to find solutions to these problems and make rapid on-field updates.

What's your background?

I was born in Sri-Lanka and migrated to Rockhampton in Central Queensland in 2006. I came to love Rocky, where I have very fond memories of my schooling days at Rockhampton Grammar School. As far back as I could remember, I was fascinated by aircrafts, which no doubt led me in the path of engineering.

During University, I tried my best to be involved in interesting clubs and societies. A notable team I was a part of was Team Arrow, a solar car racing team out of Brisbane. I spent 1.5 years of my spare time helping develop a new solar car and had the privilege to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in 2017, which was a challenging but a very rewarding experience.

I was offered my position with Rheinmetall, during my final year at University. Initially, I met RDA during a seminar held at University about the current projects and upcoming opportunities. One thing led to another, and I had an interview for a position that needed me to travel for Germany for 2 years. Being thrilled to hear about this, I gratefully accepted the job.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely! Outside of the technical things I learnt at university, the biggest skill was ‘critical thinking’, ‘how to break down a problem into more manageable parts’. Most people in the STEM fields learns this from day one. So, if you’re passionate enough to put in the time to understand the system or task and you enjoy problem solving, this is definitely possible. In addition to this, you’ve also probably heard about ‘effective communication’, and it’s all very true. When you’re part of a large team and people are relying on you, this could make the crucial thing for a successful team.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

During work, I would say the most interesting thing is the commissioning, test and evaluation work. Specifically, working inside the Boxer CRV while and performing diagnostics during live dynamic testing with the weapon system! At times can be challenging work, you have to adapt and solve new problems all the time, but it is ultimately very enjoyable.

Outside of work, the chance to live, work and travel in Europe has been exciting, especially with the relocation support from Rheinmetall! So far, my favourite travels have been hiking the Fjords in Norway, rock climbing in the Italian Alps and snowboarding in Austria Alps.

What are the limitations of your job?

There is a lot of travel involved in the job, especially when the system is going through commissioning, field-testing and evaluation, or perhaps even verification and validation with the ADF. This type of work can be long hours in the field or laboratory, and can be mentally demanding, so that’s definitely something to consider.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Attend those industry meets and seminars at University, because you never know whom you might meet and what opportunities may come of it!
  2. Make sure you join interesting clubs and societies at Uni, meet new people, go on exchange. It will definitely help you become a well-rounded person.
  3. Don’t forget to improve your soft skills! You will rely on these skills on every day in the workplace.