Lockheed Martin’s rotary mission systems executive vice president Dale Bennett has warned that the ongoing focus for defence and naval programs should center firmly on how to deal with emerging threats, interoperability and the need to take a longer view on strategic matters.
Bennett expressed his delight at his company having been selected to deliver the Aegis model for Australia’s new line of frigates.
“We're very excited and honoured, quite frankly, to be chosen for such an important role on such an important ship for the future,” he said. “It’s about making sure we're putting on the ships of the future, a common set of integrated combat system elements so we can train and sustain here in-country over the long haul.”
Lockheed Martin ANZ CEO Vince Di Pietro, meanwhile, reflected on some current thinking relating to the regional outlook as it impacts on the Royal Australian Navy.
“It's fair to say that there's things unpacking in almost every region on the planet, but ours certainly is one which is attracting the lion's share of the spotlight and for all sorts of good reasons,” he said. “But what this does is it allows, I think, the RAN to remain in a truly capable position with contemporary technology, utilising the existing suite and to be able to grow into the future suite of weaponry that might evolve as time goes by.”
Di Pietro said the challenges of the evolving geo-political scenario as it's unfolding in our own region allows the Chief of the Navy to capitalise on some significant investments that have been made.
More specifically, Di Pietro expected the role of the Australian Navy to evolve in “not unsurprising ways”.
“From my own perspectives in a strategic context, it just makes sense [because of] the way this is moving [and] the equipment that the Australian Defence Force has already invested in and what's on the horizon in the not too distant future for developmental-type work,” Di Pietro said.
“It's keeping pace with a really rapidly changing geo-political environment in a way which, I think, remains very sensibly affordable.”
He also said it was vital that Australian service personnel are provided with the best equipment available, and to make sure that industry has a fundamental input around that capability.
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“And if there was any single evolutionary high in all of this, it is the direct involvement of industry as a fundamental input to capability,” said Di Pietro. “That is quite different to what we were doing even five years ago.”
To hear more from Dale Bennett and Vince Di Pietro, listen to the podcast here.