Australia-UK defence links to ‘strengthen industry exports’

An agreement has been met to strengthen industrial links between the Australia and United Kingdom’s defence materials sector.

Defence industry minister Christopher Pyne and the UK’s defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon have discussed ways to enhance defence exports between the two nations.

Following their meeting, it was announced that they had agreed to establish “a historic and ministerial defence industry and capability dialogue”, supported by a joint senior defence forum positioned to elevate material, industry and innovation collaboration.

“We are both investing record amounts in defence and in harnessing innovation and science and technology to deliver cutting-edge technology and maintain our capability edge,” Pyne said.

“Taking our defence materiel and industry partnership to the next level is a natural evolution and one which will deliver benefits for our defence capabilities and defence industries.

“Both countries are embarking on major long-term naval shipbuilding endeavours, building our sovereign defence industrial bases, and seeking to pull through defence innovation into practical defence capability.”

Both ministers shared strategic interests amid ongoing global threats and challenges to reinforce a “mutual benefit of closer collaboration and cooperation in key areas”.

“From the historic battle of Passchendaele to modern challenges like Daesh, the UK and Australia have a close history of collaboration,” Fallon said.

“Through our £178 billion equipment plan we, like the Australians, are investing in state-of-the-art kit for our Armed Forces as we continue to lead in tackling the threats of the future.

“The strong relationship between our two countries is growing stronger still through our increased defence cooperation and our dialogue this week.”

Both nations share interests in the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and F-35 fighter jet capability.

Minister Pyne will travel to the UK in October to meet defence procurement minister Harriett Baldwin and international trade secretary Liam Fox.

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