Ensuring a strong defence industry for Australia is no easy feat, and the risks associated with defence technology must be addressed by the entire industry, according to BAE Systems (BAES) Australia’s Brad Yelland.
Yelland spoke at DMTC's Annual Conference and stressed the need for collaboration to guarantee a successful defence industry.
Yelland said the industry must focus "on the need to work together to ensure our defence force has what they need to provide security to our nation and our people, and to deliver on our responsibilities in our geopolitical region and with our allies.
"This underlines the need to work together, as a defence enterprise, to ensure we have a strong defence industry."
The head of business strategy for BAES Australia highlighted some of the risks he believes the industry as a whole has encountered, and others that the industry will encounter in the future.
"There are risks associated with the de-stabilising effects of the long timescales associated with defence technologies over and above the risks normally associated with advanced technology or trying to do something that no-one has done before," Yelland said.
"It is this that makes it difficult for industry and research organisations to develop reasonable business cases for investment in technology if they are forced to go it alone. Add to that the fact that Australia is a small market and exporting is almost impossible in the defence sector if your home customer doesn’t want your product or technology, and the task becomes more difficult."
Yelland said that while SMEs in the industry are more likely to face challenges with selling their products, they are not alone.
"It's hard enough for a global company like BAE Systems, let alone for the SMEs whose financial resilience is significantly less," he said.
"All this points to the need to approach this as an Australian enterprise if we are to achieve the aspirations of the Defence Industry Policy and create a strong Australian defence industry – government, Defence, industry primes, SMEs, academia all working together for a common goal."