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Innovation key to enhancing export opportunities

innovation key to enhancing export opportunities
Thales Hawkei vehicle undergoing testing in a heat chamber

Innovation is certainly a ‘buzzword’ of the Australian defence industry, but it is one that carries a lot of weight and importance. Leaders in the industry have identified Australia’s ability to innovate as a key driving force to grow its defence exports.

Innovation is certainly a ‘buzzword’ of the Australian defence industry, but it is one that carries a lot of weight and importance. Leaders in the industry have identified Australia’s ability to innovate as a key driving force to grow its defence exports.

Former managing director of Airbus Group Australia Pacific and current managing director of the Australian Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) Jens Goennemann spoke with Defence Connect about innovation in defence and identified one prime, and a member of AMGC, that is helping develop Australian technology worth of exporting overseas.

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"With Thales we have a defence company who is deeply embedded in the Australia defence constituency. Thales does the right thing, has a local presence, works with research. It's not importing defence, but in fact they are exporting," Goennemann said.

"Some of their technology is world-leading, so it's not that a French company imports to Australia, in fact it's Thales who export their technology to France and other countries. I think it's a fantastic example. It is a global company with a local presence who utilises Australia's ingenuity in further developing technologies, and Thales is attractive as a partner because with Thales in their mindset, they pull in small, medium-sized companies and research, and that helps transforming manufacturing and makes it globally more competitive."

Goennemann also said that, while innovation is a fashionable catchcry for the industry, it is also one with somewhat negative connotations that must change if Australian defence exports are to be globally competitive. 

"Innovation has become a bit of a dirty word ... recently," Goenneman stated. "But if we as a country would like to be globally competitive, and not competing from state to state, innovation is necessary, and those companies who can set the pace and work with us to demonstrate that in projects, they are the ones we would like to work with, and set the example for the other companies.

"We have too little examples of globally competitive companies."

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Innovation key to enhancing export opportunities
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