Two Lockheed Martin executives have reaffirmed the value of the ties that bind the Australian and US defence forces, calling however for a greater focus on interoperability in the face of emerging threats.
Speaking to Defence Connect, Lockheed Martin's rotary mission systems executive vice president Dale Bennett and Lockheed Martin ANZ chief executive Vince Di Pietro agreed that the countries had stood side-by-side at many battles throughout history.
Bennett said he was sure the close relationship would endure into the future.
"[But] I think the interoperability and being thoughtful around the emerging threat [is key]," he said.
"How do we leverage each other's investments, bring that capability to the war fighter as efficiently and as quickly as we possibly can, and then recognising the sovereign capability and the sustainment dimension to make sure that we can sustain it wherever we deploy around the world?
"We're committed to continuing that partnership and bringing that technology, and I think there's a lot that the Australian technologists have to offer and that we can bring in to our solutions and export them around the [world] as well."
Di Pietro said it was worth amplifying the crucial element of sovereignty that is engaged in growing capabilities in Australia, “not only in the battlefield or in the equipment we use, but very importantly in the work force and the available industry, as a fundamental input to capability”.
"About 3,000 people get out of bed every morning to make something in Australia, which has been asked to be made by them or their small and medium enterprises and even some of the larger companies, to be able to join the global supply chain in a number of projects," said Di Pietro.
This, he said, was 3,000 people who might well not have got out of bed quite so early if it wasn't for something that Lockheed Martin had asked them to make.
"The beauty of that is that all of those things being made are joining a large, global supply chain in the various projects and activities and artefacts that they contribute to," said Di Pietro.
"Now, we do have some practical and real knowledge of companies that have got involved in the business of making equipment for the defence industry in that way, and that that has come back to them many times over insofar as that they now export to other countries. Not the same stuff obviously, but certainly [they’re] involved in having exposure and visibility by other customers to what Australia can offer."
To hear more from Bennett and Di Pietro, tune in to our exclusive podcast here.