Tucked away in Kirrawee, south of Sydney, is a manufacturer that designs and produces some of the most advanced military armour in the world.
Body armour with plates made by Armor Australia can help protect our diggers from bullets and blasts when they’re on operations in global hotspots.
Armor Australia’s products have been procured to help protect our soldiers in vehicles on patrol in Afghanistan, our sailors in Anzac Class frigates deployed to the Middle East, and even our aircrew on Hercules transports at risk from high velocity ammunition in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Armor Australia is just one of the high-tech NSW companies we are backing to showcase their products at Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2018 in Kuala Lumpur over three days from 16 April.
DSA 2018 is one of the largest trade shows in our region, attracting 43,000 visitors from 70 countries.
Delegates include top-level decision makers – defence ministers, admirals, generals, and leading police and customs officials.
We’re backing companies to attend this important event because defence industries are vital for our state.
They employ 6,500 people directly, and a further 29,500 in industries that support the defence sector in communities across NSW.
Our defence industries are a major supplier to the Australian Defence Force, and a crucial export earner.
Defence products are exported to allies and partners, with rigorous procedures ensuring only those approved by the Commonwealth government can be end-users.
Defence industries also bring much-needed employment to regional areas.
NSW will have a prominent position on the Team Defence Australia mission to DSA 2018, putting our industry on the world stage with access to global supply chains.
Joining Armor Australia will be Australian Target Systems, an Albury-based company that designs and installs live firing target systems to train police, defence force and other government personnel both here and overseas.
Port Macquarie based UAV Vision which has supplied battle-proven camera equipment for airborne, ground and maritime missions will also be on show.
It’s a world-leading provider of lightweight, gyro-stabilised cameras and imaging sensors, and it’s been so successful it has opened a sister-company, Defence Vision, to focus on military applications.
Its cameras can be mounted on drones, producing a birds-eye view that can significantly increase our soldiers’ chances of spotting a potential ambush threat while on patrol.
The nine NSW companies we are backing at DSA 2018 also include Blueeye Eyewear, which makes military goggles and tactical sunglasses that can protect against blast fragments from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and JAR Aerospace, which designs and manufactures hi-tech aerial drones.
The delegation is just one part of the NSW government’s wide-ranging effort to promote the state’s defence industries at home and abroad.
Last year I released the NSW Defence and Industry Strategy, a blueprint for a sustainable, technologically-advanced and globally-competitive defence industry.
The strategy aims to maximise the many opportunities from the $200 billion investment planned by the Australian government in defence acquisition, sustainment and operations over the next decade.
We have also established a dedicated team, Defence NSW, to forge stronger relationships with the Commonwealth, the ADF and industry.
Our strategy recognises the key role played by our specialist regional defence precincts around the state – including Western Sydney, the Hunter, the North Coast, the Shoalhaven, Illawarra, and the Capital region. The Defence NSW team are working hard to support and strengthen these precincts.
Our state is home to the largest number of military and civilian defence personnel of any state or territory, with 26 percent of the nation’s defence personnel based here.
Clearly, the defence industries are vital for NSW, and NSW is vital for Defence.
Niall Blair is NSW Minister for Trade and Industry