Australian Industry and Defence Network NSW president Medhat Wassef has highlighted some key drivers of what he casts as an Australian defence sector that offers SMEs countless unprecedented business opportunities.
Speaking to Defence Connect’s Phillip Tarrant, Wassef – who also serves as defence business development manager at Albury-based subsystems specialist Milspec Manufacturing – said the current defence environment for Australian SMEs was truly unique.
“We're living in an era that we haven't seen for years. I've been in the defence industry from both the Defence and the defence industry side for about 30 years, all up. I have never seen a period like what we are seeing now,” Wassef said.
“There's a lot of interest in involving certain defence industry in the Defence projects, and Defence is spending a lot of money, as we all know, so the defence industry could not be any happier.”
Wassef attributed the upbeat market conditions for local SMEs in large part to a deliberate policy change on the part of the Defence agencies.
“Defence is making it clear to all the primes, local and international, that they do need to engage local industry and to engage them in meaningful work, not just superficial type work,” he said.
“And as a result, they're all knocking on the doors of SMEs and trying to establish partnerships in areas to work together.”
In terms of Wassef’s own company, Milspec Manufacturing, which is partnered with both BAE Systems and Rheinmetall for the LAND 400 Phase 2 program, he said the Albury-based firm offered a comprehensive range of products, “mainly the alternators and related power products, exportable power, auxiliary power units and so forth”.
Wassef added that the quality of the military vehicle alternators the company developed was second to none.
“They're the envy of the whole world,” he said. “They're the smallest and the most output you get for a particular size and weight and they have been sought by European and exported to the US and UK. Some to Singapore. And many other interested parties at the moment. They're in trial in Europe in a number of areas. So, yeah, they're a very good story.”