Even as COVID-19 restrictions continue to roil industries around the country, the South Australian defence sector is searching for global export opportunities and taking on new workers.
Adelaide's Defence Teaming Centre recently won a federal grant to establish an export hub, worth $624,009. The award was announced by the federal government on 10 May, with the stated goal of supporting "advanced manufacturing and cyber security SMEs in South Australia to capitalise on defence sector global supply chain and export opportunities".
DTC chief executive Audra McCarthy said the Teaming for Export Success in Advanced Manufacturing Export Hub would capitalise on defence sector supply chain and export opportunities around the globe. In terms of key target markets, DTC cites the UK (Future Frigates program) and Germany (Land 400 AFVs). However, plans also include the Arafura Class offshore patrol vessel build.
McCarthy also said that the DTC was closely monitoring developments in the US, to better understand export opportunities to the American market. In particular, she pointed to comments made in recent days by US President Donald Trump, to the effect that all Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) work be restricted to the country.
“We are watching this with great concern,” McCarthy said.
“But from a South Australian defence perspective it’s business as normal for us.
“The one thing we have to be careful about is not having a knee-jerk reaction to bringing work in-house.”
Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds recently contacted French President Emmanuel Macron to confirm the country's continued commitment to the subs program. An estimated annual average of around 2,800 Australian jobs are expected over the life of the Attack Class Submarine Program. This figure counts 1,100 direct jobs and 1,700 in the supply chain.
McCarthy's comments tie in to recent developments that have seen submarine construction at Osborne on schedule for a June handover.
“We’ve seen business speed up for a lot for organisations,” she said in terms of the domestic market, but reiterate that challenges remain.