Australian Industry and Defence Network NSW president Medhat Wassef has praised the federal government’s renewed push to smooth the path for local defence-focused SMEs in terms of their export capabilities.
Wassef – who also holds a position as defence business development manager at Albury-headquartered military sub-systems provider Milspec Manufacturing – told Defence Connect he was encouraged to see Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne highlighting new export opportunities for Australian defence players.
"Certainly, his instructions to the defence representatives overseas is very encouraging," he said. "The Brits have been doing it for years, Americans doing it for years. So, now, our military attaches and defence representatives overseas are certainly helping SMEs and primes to sell Australian products."
While Wassef acknowledged that these advocates were by no stretch of the imagination accomplished sales people, he welcomed how they “in a very professional way, [are] introducing us to the right people and opening the right doors”.
"And that's very encouraging,” he said, adding that as yet the export component formed a very small percentage of Milspec Manufacturing’s output.
"[But] we certainly are growing that business aggressively,” Wassef said. “We're going just into the Defence and Security Equipment International [event in London].
"We've been to the Middle East a number of times and the USA and we are seeking to expand that area."
Wassef also touched on his firm’s involvement with the tender process for the LAND 400 Phase 2 program, which features heavy competition between Rheinmetall and BAE Systems.
"Both Rheinmetall and BAE Systems, they're our number one and number two customers for Milspec at the moment, and they're very good partners to work with," he said.
"So, we are, again, in a professional way, without going into a lot of details of what we do on both sides, we certainly believe that we're going to have a good chance of business either way, and as Minister Pyne mentioned, whichever vehicle we end up with, it's going to be a very good vehicle."
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More specifically, Wassef explained that his firm "basically works in a responsive mode with the two of them and similar projects where we have two competitors working with us".
“Essentially, we offer a capability, and this capability is available for both partners and we work closely with them to progress their requirements and draw a very clear line of communication so we don't comment on what we're doing with one of them to the other," he added.
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