Similarities between Australia and the Middle East can be few and far between in some areas, but the chief executive of an Australasian defence and engineering company has said the two regions’ defence industries are facing the same issues.
Babcock Australia and New Zealand CEO David Ruff, who was previously Babcock's managing director in the Middle East, has highlighted the industrialisation of the Middle East's defence industry as very similar to Australia's, creating potential for primes like Babcock to invest.
"There are a lot of similarities, believe it or not, between the Middle East defence market and the Australian defence market," said Ruff.
"Some of those similarities, I think, were best summarised by the need for defence industrialisation."
Ruff, who spent just over five years with the Middle East branch of Babcock, said while the security situations between the two regions are not necessarily comparable, the economic and political environments have created like-for-like defence industries, where development and growth in the domestic industry is crucial.
"Both areas have got a similar macro environment politically, economically and in terms of security," explained Ruff.
"That's not to say that the security situation in Australia is anything like the Middle East, the Middle East is a challenge beyond anybody's imagination, but that whole desire to industrialise the defence market to create an indigenous defence industrial base is as big in the Middle East, bearing in mind that the Middle East is not a country it's a series of countries, but it is a common theme across the Middle East where there is this overriding need to create an industrial base, a manufacturing base, to train locals, to upscale the workforce, to create domestic industries and to invest in those industries.
"I see that same parallel here in Australia."
And these similarities are well and truly at the forefront of Babcock Australia and New Zealand's plans, Ruff said, with ongoing plans for investment and growth in Australia, on the back of the company's recent establishment of its new regional support centre in Adelaide.
"For Babcock, that's absolutely part of our business model, investing on a long-term basis with our customers, with governments, to grow capabilities, to grow workforces, to grow skills," he said.
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