Australia must capitalise on primes

Australia must capitalise on primes
Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH), during Exercise Predators Talon & Griffin Guns

The managing director of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) has called for Australia to take advantage of the growing interest and investment of global defence prime’s in Australia.

Jens Goennemann of the AMGC spoke with Defence Connect about the recent investment some of the larger global defence companies have put, or will put, into the Australian defence industry.

With Northrop Grumman recently announcing it will invest $50 million in western Sydney and establish an advanced electronics maintenance and sustainment centre, along with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems both signing new global supply chain agreements, Goennemann said the time to strike is now.

"Let's exploit them [primes]. Let them do that. It's a good thing. We can learn, we can co-operate," Goennemann stated.

"We need to have them in order to bring the much smaller and more fragmented, small-medium size landscape of defence and non-defence companies into play with global companies."

The former managing director of Airbus Group Australia Pacific stressed this is important if Australia hopes to gain a strong foothold in the global defence industry supply chain.

"It is not so much about assembling a whole product, be it a car, be it a ship. It is about being part of the global value chain, being part of that. That we not only deliver elements into the systems being built in Australia, but that these elements can be so good and so sophisticated, that we deliver them onto the global stage," Goennemann said.

"I know from [my] own example that companies who have been really small in my early days, let’s take a company like Cablex, who have started to build cable booms for the ARH Tiger, then eventually for the NH-90, not only for the Australian fleet but for the global fleet, and I would be surprised if Cablex will eventually not use this boost and become a competitor of Airbus one day. Because their opportunity to compete successfully, and deliver successfully, in a domestic defence product has enabled them to be globally competitive."

Goennemann said taking this approach will see small enterprises grow to medium companies and, potentially, key players in the global defence industry.

"Defence, and the massive amount, the massive ambition we have and we want to spend in that area, provides a magnificent opportunity to see other manufacturers transforming their way," he said.

To hear more from AMGC's Jens Goennemann, click here for our podcast.

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