Defence industry future a shared journey

At the launch of PACIFIC 2019, Melissa Price, Minister for Defence Industry, emphasised that the future of the defence industry in Australia rested on collaboration.

“Engaging our defence industry ensures our investments are contributing to the long-term viability of our shipbuilding industry and leveraging Aussie innovation,” she said.

“I am also making engagement with small business a top priority as they will be helping the major defence industries to deliver on our major investment plan.”

These comments came as the Minister released its new Navy Engagement Strategy which positions the Royal Australian Navy as a “capability manager” with industry engagement throughout the life cycle of navy systems. This life cycle goes from the development of strategy and concepts, and risk mitigation and requirement setting through to acquisition and in service and disposal.

Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, who co-launched the strategy, highlighted how fundamental industry is to the Navy.

“Without industry we don’t go to sea, we don’t fly our aircraft, and ultimately we are unable to defend Australia and our national interests.”

“My vision is for Navy, industry, and academia to become better partners that focus on transformational relationships and shared awareness to enable the best possible outcomes for Australia,” said Noonan.

One example of what these kinds of partnerships could look like was in the announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding between South Australian computing solutions company, APC Technology, and AISH Technologies, a UK electronics manufacturer. The partnership will allow for the transfer of AISH’s technological know-how to APC, to enable the SA-based manufacturer to contribute to maritime sustainment.

Launching the partnership, SA Premier, Steven Marshall, highlighted how the potential that comes from collaboration is greater than the sum of its parts.

“We’re also hoping through this technology transfer from AISH to APC it opens up APC to global opportunities for their excellent products,” said Marshall.

Collaboration was also on display at the signing of an agreement between major defence prime contractors Naval Group Australia, BAE Systems Australia, ASC, Luerssen Australia, SAAB Australia, and Lockheed Martin Australia and the Naval Shipbuilding College. The Naval Shipbuilding Industry Strategic Workforce Plan aims to limit competition for skilled workers between the primes, by ensuring that workforce needs are identified well in advance.

“It’s ground-breaking to see this level of cooperation across this industry sector,” said Naval Shipbuilding College Chief Executive, Ian Irving, at the launch of the agreement.