Over 80 US companies exhibited at the Avalon Airshow, a majority within the centrepiece of the American presence at the airshow, the US International Pavilion, showing the growing American investment in Australian trade.
The airshow commenced the week that US President Donald Trump announced he is seeking a "historic increase" to US defence spending of up to US$54 billion ($70 billion).
The airshow was a successful week for exhibitors within the US International Pavilion, with various partnerships and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed, including US defence avionics company Coherent Technical Services Inc's (CTSi) $10 million partnernship with Varley Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems partnerships for Team Reaper, and Kratos Unmanned Systems Division's (KUSD) MoU with Air Affairs Australia.
The airshow also saw Kratos announce the opening of an Australian office this year in support of Kratos’ growing number of Australian initiatives. Together with Air Affairs Australia, the companies will aim to jointly identify future Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) opportunities to complement Air Affairs’ existing manned adversary and targets business, as well as pursuing a range of evolving tactical UAS opportunities. The MoU enables Air Affairs and Kratos to offer a selection of UAS ranging from low-cost Phoenix Unmanned Aerial Targets (UATs), to tactical UAS for a number of applications, through to high performance UATs.
The growing US involvement in Australian trade should come as no surprise as Australia has one of the fasting growing defence markets in the world, as well as the wider Asia-Pacific region.
Some of America's leading defence manufacturers were represented at Avalon, many with proven operating partnerships already in country, including: The Boeing Company (Australia is its largest operation outside of the US), Lockheed Martin (more than 800 employees across Australia and New Zealand), Northrop Grumman (aiming to double its Australian footprint in the next three years) and Raytheon (operating locally as Raytheon Australia since 1999).
Collectively, US exhibitors at Avalon represented more than 20 states, including five state economic development groups from Oregon, Maryland, Oklahoma and a combined New England/New York stand.
Oregon arrives on the heels of a nearly $100 million deal that has Perth-based Orbital UAVE setting up shop in the state to produce engines for Boeing UAS subsidiary InSitu.
California dominated as the most represented US state, with nearly 20 state-based exhibitors on show.
Numerous US government agencies were also represented including the departments of Commerce, Defense and State.
President and CEO of the US Pavilion's organising company, Kallman Worldwide, Tom Kallman said, "From publicly traded stalwarts to privately held small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs], US exhibitors are here because Australia is one of the world’s leading buyers of aerospace and defence equipment, and this event attracts real business prospects and customers.
"As the representative of the Australian International Airshow and organiser of the US International Pavilion at Avalon since 2005, our team is proud to work with our counterparts at Industry Defence and Security Australia, Ltd. to help exhibitors capitalise on this event and further strengthen our two nations’ bilateral aerospace, defence and economic partnerships."
"The United States is the biggest international exhibitor at Avalon because it’s the world's biggest aerospace and defence supplier, but that’s no guarantee buyers will look to work with US companies over others," Kallman added. "On behalf of the US International Pavilion, we have a responsibility to advocate not only for our exhibitors, but for our country in this highly competitive global marketplace.
"Whether as manufacturing, supply chain or service partners, the United States is committed to our trade and investment partnerships in Australia, we bring smart ideas to the table and we have the best-skilled workforce — here and in the States — ready to do the job."