“We’ve spoken in the past about that – [how] even while we've certainly been part of the primes – you realise that the whole crucible of ideas, the innovation that the government, particularly, is talking about so much now comes from the SMEs, [and] not necessarily from the primes,” said former Lockheed Martin ANZ chief executive Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Raydon Gates.
QinetiQ Australia was established on 16 February 2008 when the QinetiQ Group in the UK purchased three Australian defence consultancy, engineering services and aerospace businesses.
The firm describes itself as a people-based business that provides trusted and impartial advice and services across the aerospace, land and maritime domains of the Department of Defence and to government, training and industry sectors.
Gates – who was appointed to the QinetiQ board in February – told Defence Connect that the primes generally tended to benefit greatly from this dynamic.
“[They] then hope to commercialise it,” he said. “But, that's where I think we, particularly as ex-service people, can contribute very much in the SME space.
“I'd certainly put QinetiQ at the higher end of the [middles] and it's a great opportunity [being able to] contribute to them as well. But [we welcome] any opportunity where we can work with SMEs.
“Particularly Margaret [Staib], for example, is the advocate for the Northern Territory. There's a lot of SMEs up there in that space as well [and] they've got the expertise in what they do.
“All we can do is just guide them into the labyrinth of the political way things are done, even into the Department of Defence sometimes. So, our contribution's just guiding.”
Margaret Staib – who has only recently been appointed to the board – said it's really important that SMEs in Australia are integrated into the global supply chains.
“QinetiQ being owned by a UK parent, we have that opportunity to bring that expertise to Australia and contribute to the national agenda around defence and security,” she said, adding that her own background is in logistics with the Air Force.
“QinetiQ is doing some fabulous work here in Australia and … it's very much a growth path. So, I'm looking forward to contributing … my experience.”
To hear more from the QinetiQ board members, tune in to our podcast here.