Australian defence professionals enjoying stellar reputation in US

Australian defence professionals enjoying stellar reputation in US

Australian defence personnel and business representatives are highly regarded in the US, says Vince Howie – aerospace and defense director at Oklahoma’s Department of Commerce.

Howie told Defence Connect that during his entire career – which included nearly three decades with the US Air Force – he had noted how Australian defence professionals were invariably respected and welcomed throughout the services.

"I spent 29 years in the Air Force; it made me equivalent to a brigadier general," he said. "When I was in the Pentagon, I had an Aussie officer who worked with me."

"At Tinker Air Force Base [in Oklahoma City] where I spent 19 of my 29 years, the largest maintenance repair and overhaul facility in the world for DoD, we have Australian exchange officers there. [They’re] always very professional, great personalities and the best guys to go have a beer with."

Howie said that across the board, Australian defence companies and their representatives had made a huge positive impact in the US market.

Specifically, he underlined the success of the US expansion on the part of Brisbane-headquartered engineering firm Ferra, which has won supply contracts with high-profile US aerospace companies including Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

"Because of Ferra, knowing what a world-class company that is, I think the reputation is very good," Howie said. "Especially in companies that are in the defence and aerospace industry."

"If you're not a top notch company in aerospace you don't survive," he stressed. "This is not a something where somebody can slack off or not have the right technology [or choose] not to do the follow-up or the maintenance. You won't survive in this industry."

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