PODCAST: Building long-term capability for defence and industry through LAND 400, Brian Gathright, vice president of business development, BAE Systems Australia

LAND 400 Phase 2 will deliver the Australian Army 225 highly-capable combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRVs) to replace the aging ASLAVs in a project worth $4-5 billion dollars.

With the decision on the successful tenderer imminent, industry awaits with anticipation on the news whether BAE Systems Australia with its AMV35 or Rheinmetall Defence Australia with its Boxer CRV, will land the contract.

Join host Phillip Tarrant in this special episode of the Defence Connect Podcast as he speaks with Brian Gathright, vice president of business development at BAE Systems Australia – the executive leading the prime’s campaign to secure the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract.

Enjoy the podcast,

The Defence Connect team.

 

 

Listen to previous episodes of the Defence Connect podcast:

Episode 100: PODCAST: The freedom that a start-up space agency presents Australia, Dr Jason Held, Saber Astronautics
Episode 99: PODCAST: Defence industry’s communication opportunities in the digital age, Brendan Maxwell, The Decisive Point
Episode 98: PODCAST: How geospatial imagery is aiding US border security, Patrick Stewart, US Border Patrol
Episode 97: Technology is changing the face of border security: US Border Protection Chief
Episode 96: PODCAST: How Legacy is supporting families impacted by defence, John Hutcheson, Legacy
Episode 95: On Point: Milskil leading SMEs in supporting Defence capability
Episode 94: PODCAST: Milskil to deliver training services following Australian JSF arrival, John Lonergan, Milskil
Episode 93: PODCAST: Remembering the heroes of Hamel 100 years on, Stephen Dando-Collins, author
Episode 92: PODCAST: The battle of Le Hamel and the 93 minutes that changed the world, Peter FitzSimons, author
Episode 91: PODCAST: Combat management systems and the new Hunter Class, Andy Keough, SAAB Australia

Announcer: Welcome to the Defence Connect podcast with your host, Phil Tarrant.

Phil Tarrant: Well, good day everyone. It's Phil Tarrant here. I'm the host of the Defence Connect podcast. Thanks for joining us today, a bit of a special feature. I know if you've been tuning in recently, we have put quite a lot of emphasis on the SEA 5000 programme. Quite a lot of work underway right now and we've had a series of conversations with the senior people from all of the relevant contending businesses in chatting about what they're doing in there. But, often, SEA 5000 gets a lot of noise but I don't want it to be overlooked by one of the very other major program announcements, which is coming up this year, which is LAND 400 Phase 2.

Something, which is a key focus for us at Defence Connect. If you've been tuning into the website, defenceconnect.com.au over the last couple of months, you will see an increased focus in this regards. I want to have a greater focus on LAND 400 as we near the Phase 2, near the announcement of the successful contender. As you all know, BAE Australia has pinned against Rheinmetall to deliver new combat reconnaissance vehicles for our army. In the studio today is someone to have a chat to me and with me about BAE Solution is Brian Gathright. He's the Vice President of Business Development, BAE Systems Australia. I've been looking forward to this and I want to really get under the hood, literally, of the AMV35 and see what's there and how it's potentially the right solution for our soldiers in the field in the army. Brian, how are you going?

Brian Gathright: Good day, Phil. Good to see you.

Phil Tarrant: Good to see you. I met you about a year in a little bit ago, I remember we're at, I think it was a dinner in Canberra quite a while ago.

Brian Gathright: Yeah.

Phil Tarrant: I think you'd only recently arrived in Australia when you relocated out to Adelaide with the family and your feet under the desk to work through LAND 400 Phase 2. Enjoyed the chat back then, and I imagine I'm going to reflect back on what we spoke about then, to where we are today and the advancement that BAE's made in this space. Today, I just really want to have a good conversation around LAND 400; what you guys are doing, how you see the world, how you see the competition, and maybe if you can give us information and some details around your particular solution to the army. I think we'll be covering quite a lot off. So, does that sound okay?

Brian Gathright: Sounds good, fantastic. It's almost been two-and-half years now since I have been in the country.

Phil Tarrant: Oh, is that long, is it?

Brian Gathright: So, my how time has flown.

Phil Tarrant: How are you enjoying it?

Brian Gathright: Love it. It's been fantastic and it's been a whirlwind of a program to drive LAND 400 to this point. So, looking forward to the next step.

Phil Tarrant: So we're at the pointy end of it now?

Brian Gathright: Yes.

Phil Tarrant: How pointy is it, when is this announcement going to happen?

Brian Gathright: The message is within the first half of the year's Chief of the Army statement, Minister Pyne is said within weeks. So we expect we're getting close.

Phil Tarrant: Okay. You got champagne bottles waiting cold, ready to a popping corks or is it ... the jury still don't know where this is going to go?

Brian Gathright: I think it's a tight competition, but I feel good about the offer that we made to the army and we look forward to getting their feedback.

Phil Tarrant: It's good. So when we first met a year or so ago, we spoke about -- I remember the conversation quite well; you're transitioning to Australia to lead this program for BAE. Obviously there's a twang to your voice, there is an accent there, American.

Brian Gathright: Yes.

Phil Tarrant: So, why we've got an American leading the charge here within BAE to draw this LAND 400 Phase 2?

Brian Gathright: So my experience base is leading international campaigns and delivery programs. I've had the opportunity to see BAE deliver technology transfer into local markets several times over across the world into Europe and into the Middle East. What excited me, initially, about the opportunity in Australia was the competency of industry. I was stepping into a market that had such capability that thinking about technology transfer was leaps and bounds beyond some of the things we've been able to do in other markets. That was exciting opportunity, and I can tell you two years in, we've absolutely verified that of just how wonderful the industrial capability is in Australia. For me coming in from an American experience, learning the Australian culture, learning Australian Defence and how we deliver products in Australia has been a learning curve, but a good one.

Phil Tarrant: Are we easy to do business with, do you think, compared to American counterparts?

Brian Gathright: Yes. I think there's very a fair dinkum approach. Everyone's looking for what are the capabilities and what are the key features of process that I need to be able to work in defence. So there's a very ... Everybody's looking for an opportunity not for handout. I think that's a key feature of the defence industry here in Australia; that they are really seeking how do they move into the industry or how do they improve their capability, and that's made it really easy to work with industry across the country.

Phil Tarrant: We talked about working with industry early today, I got a press release we received from you guys this morning, and also one of your partners, RUAG, who is going to be participating if you are successful in some armored steel for your AMV35 solution. I want to get into how you're dealing with SMEs a little bit further down the path of this podcast. This sort of integration into defence industry working with potential collaborators and suppliers has been central to your approach for LAND 400?

Brian Gathright: Absolutely. I know we'll talk about capability down the road, but when we selected Hägglunds' E35 turret in the Patria AMV, one of the key elements of that decision Matrix, once you get past capability, was all about, "How capable are we to transfer that capability and technology into the Australian market and into Australian industry?" That's not just Patria and Hägglunds themselves who've done this over five times each to the tune of over a thousand vehicles and 600 turrets that have been manufactured outside of the home country, where Patria in Finland and Hägglunds in Sweden operate. But it also moves into their supply chain. The announcement today, RUAG is an example of that. So RUAG in Switzerland works with Patria. They are able to transfer their knowledge around armored steel to RUAG here in Australia to manufacture the armored applique for the AMV35. For us it's an opportunity to bring kind of the cutting edge, best-in-class, armored applique to our vehicle and have it produced by Australians in Australia.

Phil Tarrant: There is so much work that goes into these programs even before there is any manufacturing on the way. So you need to form not only your position, your solution, but get all your ducks in line. So, if you do get the green light you can move quickly and responsively to get the manufacturing done. How many SMEs have you now established relationships with on the basis that should you get the green light you move on it?

Brian Gathright: So we source to market over a hundred and fifty SMEs across several hundred work packages down-selected to about 50 of those. We have essentially in principle contracts in place for how we would execute with over 25 of those now. In addition to that, there's a whole other element of work scope that once down selected will be Australian industrial capability that will be able to compete within the Australian Market. It's guaranteed to be Australian workload, but right now it's ... there are multiple competitors that can provide that capability.

Phil Tarrant: It's good. Obviously, this is a national enterprise, so a lot of those SMEs are based right across the country. But the LAND 400 Phase 2 program it's highly politicised across a number of different levels. I don't want to get too far into that. However, you've chosen to partner with the Victorian government and we've had a Greg Combet - Greg and I know you listen so g'day how you going - on the podcast talking about their partnership with you and why they've generated that. I really want to get your side of the story. So why have you chosen Victoria and why have you set up shop in Fishermans Bend?

Brian Gathright: Yeah. At the start of the LAND 400 campaign, we had the opportunity to examine sites across the country. Ultimately, we had offers in place from several states to include Queensland, for example. And we were able to compare those offers and make an assessment about where would be the best place for us to deliver the capability. Very importantly for us as a company, it became about mobilisation; where is that capability today so that we can draw upon it to deliver LAND 400. When you look to Victoria the answer was pretty clear to us; there an armored manufacturing hub today, they do automotive manufacturing, they're the manufacturing centre of Australia. So for us, it was about skilled labour and then it was about the fact that Fisherman's Bend offered a unique capability and opportunity unlike anything of the other bids that we examined.

What was key there was the ability to co-locate alongside defence, alongside the university. So you may have seen our announcement with the University of Melbourne, with them relocating to Fishermans Bend as well as our work with them around technology transfer and innovation that will be ongoing with Fishermans Bend. More broadly, many of our SMEs are centred around the area and they've gone one step further and said, "You know, with you relocating Fishermans Bend, we potentially will relocate right alongside of you." So we're just scratching the surface of that.

For us, with a large operation across Victoria, it was an opportunity for us to consolidate activities around maritime, air, and land. Bringing large complex programs together does a couple of things; Number one, it allows us to integrate people and processes to deliver synergies of how we deliver complex programs, and secondly, it puts us in a position that as programs move through their life cycles, we can mobilise and demobilise workforces without creating valleys of death. And that's a really important feature for us in terms of the capability that Fishermans Bend provides.

Phil Tarrant: Do reckon that, should you guys be successful, that you'll be able to source that human resource base to get the manufacturer underway or they're too hard to find?

Brian Gathright: Oh no. Absolutely, we've had a lot of success already in our early recruiting with the amount of automotive skillset in the Melbourne area, and I mentioned Geelong as well where we'll do some of the whole manufacturing through Marand. We're reemploying folks that have the skill-set that's directly applicable to the working LAND 400.

Phil Tarrant: It's good. So, LAND 400 phase 2 is a replacement for the ASLAV. For our listeners that familiar with the program, what is trying to achieve; the size and scale of it. Can you just give it a quick brief?

Brian Gathright: Yeah. LAND 400 Phase 2, the replacement for the ASLAV, is delivering the next generation of combat reconnaissance vehicles for the army. It's 225 vehicles ultimately serving seven different roles. The primary role is the combat reconnaissance vehicle, which is the idea that you have to fight for information on the battlefield. So it's a combination of you need lethality and mobility to earn that space in the battlefield, and then the network of sensors and soldiers to bring that information to bear and be able to scout out for other operations in the combat space. Alongside of that becomes the other specialty roles of a command-and-control vehicle, joint fires and surveillance, and then the support vehicles in the repair recovery and ambulance base.

Phil Tarrant: How would you explain or how would you describe the competition so far? Obviously, AMV is up against the boxer from my rate of it, not been looking at this quite closely for a number of years. It could be tough to pick the two. Obviously, there's pros and cons across both solutions. I don't want to get into some of the capabilities of the AMV, but how have you found the competition against Rheinmetall? Would you describe it as fierce? I know it's very competitive, but you both want the job.

Brian Gathright: We both want the job, but too good vehicles and two good teams fighting for the opportunity. I think it's a difference in approaches. When you look at the AMV, one of the things that we set as a hard constrain of how we design AMV, you absolutely must deliver the protection. There's no doubts about that. You deliver the protection, but you got to preserve the other fundamental elements that make a CRV, a CRV, so weight matters; You need to deliver protection without just growing the weight of the vehicle. So we constrain the weight of the vehicle at 32 tonnes that allows us to deliver a mobility onto the battlefield giving the horsepower ratio of our AMV is greater than that of an ASLAV. It gives us the ability to deliver that horsepower per tonne onto the battlefield to maintain mobility, and then we equip it with the E35 gun, gives us a lethality advantage.

So there's an opportunity for us to outfight the competition on the battlefield, and in a peer on peer conflict for a CRV to potentially have the challenge of taking on a tank and being able to either, a, outfight it or certainly get away from it in a big hurry. Those are some of the technical design philosophies of an AMV that we think make it the right choice for this particular competition.

Phil Tarrant: And this competition has taken place. Obviously, you're both down-selected and you both provided vehicles to the Australian army and said kind of play with these and do what you need to do in the being off and on ships, et cetera. That armor is now finished completely. When did that finalise and what were the last couple of scenarios put through?

Brian Gathright: So the army completed on August 11th when both of us submitted our

updated tenders. The last step in the army process was the blast test. So we completed blast test on the front of the vehicle as well as in the crew compartment, the rear of the vehicle. Both vehicles went through that blast test. Prior to that, there was a series of mobility trials, lethality test. They took them up north outside of Darwin, put them through a hot wet exercise. So really a robust set of testing to figure out kind of the major capabilities of the vehicle, and how best they fit with the armies.

Phil Tarrant: And you've had a chat with the guys and gals who are driving this and playing with them. What's their views?

Brian Gathright: Absolutely. I think that's been one of the best learning experiences for us, because the warrant officers have come back with some really good, "Do this a little bit differently. Do that a little bit differently. This is fantastic." One of the great experiences was particularly during the live-firing, as gunners got trained and started to deliver kind of the testing, their experience with the accuracy, range, and overall lethality of the gun.

Phil Tarrant: So you talk a little bit lethality and obviously the gun that you have on board the AMV35. This actually been in combat, right?

Brian Gathright: Yes.

Phil Tarrant: So, it's been in combat. What's the depth of that combat experience with the group?

Brian Gathright: Several hundred AMV is deployed to Afghanistan and served outside the wire in combat every day. The stories coming back, the Taliban refer to it as the 'green devil', the reason why is that that was the dark colour of the polish paint, and the Taliban experience just how formidable an opponent it was. So they try to hit it with RPGs, they hit it with improvised explosive device mines and the vehicle withstood those tests, and delivered soldiers home. That's the fundamental starting point of our capabilities. It's all about protection and we have that proven track record in operations to deliver it.

Secondly, the 35mm turret served as part of our CV90 Fleet in Afghanistan. So it delivered that lethality on the battlefield. It's designed to be able to fight through conflict. So what that means is, inevitably, things can happen on the battlefield that make it challenging to operate your mission. There's a lot of redundancy built into the turret that allows the gunner and the commander to continue to fight their way through those challenges and make sure they deliver the mission and return back to base safely.

Phil Tarrant: So, getting in the politics quickly, there is a lot of noise irrespective of whether it's LAND 400 or 7000 or SEA 5000. The Australian taxpayer, Australian businesses, Australian defence industry, Australian politicians are very big on making sure that there is significant Australian involvement in the creation of delivery of and sustainment of these major programs. They want the work to happen in Australia. You guys have obviously chosen Fishermans Bend and you're looking to capitalise on some of the talent of our engineering and manufacturing capabilities down there. How much of this is going to be Australian content and how much is going to be OS stuff?

Brian Gathright: At the end of the day we will produce almost all of the vehicle Fleet here in Australia. A total of 200 Vehicles produced in Australia the first of types to make sure we get the manufacturing baseline. And this is critical to that tech transfer piece. We'll be done in Europe to make sure we have a strong manufacturing base that we can transfer into Australia. We will manufacture 200 vehicles here in Australia to a tune of over 1.25 billion dollars. We'll employ somewhere on the order of 50-100 SMEs depended upon the final content breakdown. That content breakdown will occur across the nation. There will obviously be a focal point within Victoria and South Australia, where there's a strong automotive and defence background around armored vehicles. But equally we have companies from New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania participating in our LAND 400 solution.

At the end of the day, that will deliver 200 direct jobs on our assembly line, roughly about 500 indirect jobs through our employment of the supply chain. Then when you apply the multiplier to that you get to a place where total job counts on the order of 2000 jobs and that's just thinking about the injection of that 1.25 billion dollars into the economy, and what that does. That's all about the acquisition program. I think sometimes we get so focused on the delivery of that first 225 vehicles that we forget there's 30 years of support. So we're thinking about generations of Australians being employed. Effectively, Australians that aren't even born today will be the ones delivering the support in the upgrades to AMV35 in the future.

Phil Tarrant: I had a really good chat with your relatively new CEO, Gabby Costigan, the other day. You can check it out on the defenceconnect.com.au, you will listen to this podcast. We covered a whole range of stuff from this major program, but also just a few tools in defence industry. There's something that popped up and I remember from the chat I had with her, and it's something, which obviously comes up all the time when I'm chatting with other people, it's actually transfer of technology when it comes to this much of program. So it's all very good that we have these large global capabilities offering resources in Australia to help build defence capabilities. But the important bit is to make sure that that IP, that knowledge comes to Australia and stays in Australia and supports the ongoing growth and development of our own domestic sovereign capabilities. I know you got some experience in this, is probably why they gave you the gig at BAE to run this program, the LAND 400.

Brian Gathright: Or it's just for me to spend some time on the beach.

Phil Tarrant: Is that what it is? So how do you actually make that happen? It sounds nice you're going to transfer the technology, but is it a hard process?

Brian Gathright: It's certainly not an easy process. It's something that you get right over time in I think our experience by delivering IP transfer, local production for AMV for E35. It's no different to what we're doing on SEA 5000, where we're offering up local production based upon IP transfer. It's an experience that is at a core competency for us. And so, that's what we bring. In addition to the capability of the vehicle is that competency in transferring IP and the tech transfer. To get it right, it's absolutely incumbent upon the OEM, the prime to deliver that capability into market.

It starts with the level of engagement that you have with SMEs about how they build the commercial relationship, because if you don't get that right the IP can't follow and you can't do the production. So as you point out, you know, when things get difficult that's what falls over. So for us it's about establishing those commercial relationships and the business-to-business relationships right up front. As a company that's been in Australia for 65 years working with over 2000 SMEs, we understand the importance of that.

So you get through the commercial element and then the IP is core to our offering, and that's coming back to two why we selected AMV and the E35 turret as our Solution. That's what Patria and Hägglunds do. Everywhere Patria’s modus operandi around AMV, is to transfer IP for local production. They don't want to be a large manufacturer back in Europe, they want to manufacture in the local country. Similarly, with our CV90, the Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the turret is typically manufactured in the local country. This is essentially the core competency of both of these businesses. So it was a critical factor in our selection for delivering the LAND 400.

Phil Tarrant: Is Patria and Hägglunds sitting there with the anticipation waiting for this decision, I imagine, or they're active in many other markets across the globe? And you speaking about the technology transfer, so that was going to happen here rather than at home in HQ. What's their view of the Australian defence industry? Is this just a tiny little place where there's potentially some more business for them or is this a serious concern for them?

Brian Gathright: This is a significant opportunity for both. I think one of the enabling features is the competency of Australian industry. So we were able to move further into how much we can integrate our IP into the Australian market. So just to give you an example of what we're doing; as part of the tech transfer, we will take BAE Australia employees as well our SMEs onto the Hägglunds and Patria production lines to the tune of about 60,000 hours either in the Nordics or in Australia providing that tech transfer into their facilities. So when we start producing holes in Australia, it will be because we produced holes in the Nordics, taught Marand, give them the capability and then provide it back here in Australia and derisk that by making sure we had Patria on their line supporting them through that initial technology establishment process.

Phil Tarrant: So you taking about tech and all these over to Europe and say learn your craft and bring them back and say, "Implement that here." Is that right?

Brian Gathright: I think the caveat was, "Please not in winter."

Phil Tarrant: Okay. I’ve done a Scandinavian winder and it’s a bit too chilly, days are short, but the beer is cold. You spoke quickly a little bit about the capabilities of your solution that's actually is in combat in Afghanistan, and in the perception of the Taliban around it. One thing that pops up a lot when I chat with people about your solutions versus the competitor, the Boxer, there is this protection solution of yours. There is a lot said about it, for me the jury's out. What's your take on it all?

Brian Gathright: We absolutely understand. The top priority for the army is to deliver protection for our soldiers, and that's exactly what the vehicle does. So we sign up to the requirements and the capability that the Commonwealth has asked for. The vehicle has served in combat, and it withstood blast as large as what the Commonwealth test to. Furthermore, we know that the approach to protection is not just about how much armor do you put on the vehicle. If it were that easy anybody could do it, it's just more steel. The approach to protection is an integration of armor plus the design of the overall vehicle as a system, the componentry that goes into the vehicle; everything from the seats, the seat belts, the harnesses, the head room around hatches, all of these things contribute to the survivability of vehicle.

Phil Tarrant: As an Australian taxpayer, or I have a lot of my money spent well. I think it would be remiss of us not to talk about LAND 400 Phase 2 without the important conversation around cost; value for money. I come from ... perspective as a taxpayer, but also involved defence industry I get to have a chat with guys like yourself on both sides of the fence in this competition. Value for money today in terms of construction or in the future in terms of construction and then sustainment over time. You're talking about people not yet born who're going to be tinkering with these vehicles in the future, probably towards the back end of their service life. This whole value for money question, where do you sit on this?

Brian Gathright: So we think the AMV delivers a really competitive value-for-money proposition. And this starts with the vehicle in the acquisition process itself. I'd say two things there; first, when you look at the AMV, the componentry is principally commercial off-the-shelf. So you got a Scania engine that's in-service and heavy industry. So you get economies of scale out of other sectors that drive the value into the AMV. The modular element, I think one of the questions we get regularly about AMV is, "What is the M, what is the modularity?" It's the modularity of the componentry and the ability of the vehicle to service multiple roles from a single vehicle. So as technology evolves or the operational requirements change, the AMV is designed to swap out componentry very quickly. Better axles; if that's the evolution that you need to support a different operational role, it's very easy to make those transitions overtime and leverage commercial off-the-shelf components.

The second thing, I would say, comes back to weight. And it's a fundamental fact of just every acquisition program, whether you're in armored vehicles or delivering spacecraft. Weight drives cost, and so it's a fundamental element of design to make sure you're driving cost out and it complements our strategy around protection and preserving mobility. Moving from the acquisition program, those elements move into how you deliver sustainment. I think everyone, again, focuses in on, "We're going to deliver an acquisition program," and that's cool, that's exciting. But sustainment overtime is really where the costs are. Being able to have a vehicle that has a lower weight means lower usage rates on your engine, on your axles, on your transmission. All of these components that overtime needs service require less service, less maintenance, less replacement, and all of that drives cost out of the sustainment program.

What's really important about that is, it sustains budgets over time when you have long multi-year sustainment programs. If you see cost escalating on that, it takes money away from acquisition from other budget priorities to sustain that capability. So it's absolutely paramount that you look at the value-for-money from a sustainment perspective, just as much as you look at, "How much is it going to cost to buy these vehicles?"

Phil Tarrant: So big decision for the government to make, and it seems the decision's looming. I imagine that the powers will be within Russell in the holes within Canberra. Capability, how good is this thing will do, what we need to do versus the Boxer. We spoke about value-for-money. I think you spoke on the integration and how that transfer of technology's going to take place. I'm very boied by your comments around your view as an American of our local defence capabilities, and the fact that our SMEs have skills and sophistication get involved in this value chain.

I imagine and I know that some of these SMEs they fit in both camps so they're going to win either way, which is great for defence industry. You touched really quickly on risk. Obviously, risk means a lot of different things for a lot of different people within the context of the LAND 400 bit. The risk associated with ensuring employment of key people, the risk associated with ensuring continuity with the value chain carried within the defence industry and supporting the SMEs within it. Going back to your relationship with Victoria and why you've chosen that. What's your views on that versus the ... I can't get into too many specifics, but the Rheinmetall relationship with Queensland. How do those two things sit side by side in risk perspective?

Brian Gathright: So I'll certainly talk to our relationship with the Victorian government. I think our location at Fishermans Bend gives us an opportunity to mobilise quickly, to leverage an existing workforce and existing capability between engineers exiting college and certainly the automotive workforce, so that really enables us to mobilise quickly. An important part of that is, there's certainly a drive from the army to deliver this capability of LAND 400 Phase 2 very quickly because right now they need that from an operational perspective. The ASLAV can't service all the markets or all the theatres that the Commonwealth would like to. So, we need the operational capability quickly, and what Fishermans Bend allows us to do is mobilise that workforce to deliver it in a timely fashion.

Phil Tarrant: We've run out of time, Brian. Just if you’re tuning, I've got two spreadsheets here; one is Rheinmetall Boxer CRV, the other one's the BAE System Australia AMV35 and it compares and contrasts all the different requirements and key capabilities of these two solutions. We will obviously write at length on it on Defence Connect to probably get a little bit more into it. I know you're probably restricted, Brian, a little bit on a true comparison of these vehicles, and I'm not going to pull you into that conversation. Keep tuning into defenceconnect.com.au as we continue to keep an eye on this program in this project. It's, "Watch this space," isn't it? It really is watch your space. All the best. I hope it goes well, Brian.

Brian Gathright: Thank you, Phil.

Phil Tarrant: It is a very competitive program and having spent some time recently chatting with both sides of the fence, the jury is out and I'm not sure how it's going to go. I feel as though that you've represented the BAE Systems solution very well, and articulated all this important stuff with amazing tech, it's pretty important. So what's important to me is that our army get those capabilities required for them to do what they need to do in terms of supporting our foreign policy and national security. Brian, anything you want to add before we sign off?

Brian Gathright: I think one thing I would add, when you look at Australian industrial capability, one of the things that surprise me the most is, not only is the capability here, it's cost-effective. One of the things that's important that the taxpayer appreciate is you're not just getting industry participation and jobs, you're getting competency that's cost-effective to compete on the global market. And this has allowed us to take Australian industry capability and move it into our export space and that's one of the key features that will continue, regardless of the outcome because we've identified SMEs that can deliver that capability to our products in other markets.

Phil Tarrant: It's good. At Defence Connect, we like to be the first to know what's happening in defence industry, and so do all of our listeners and readers. I'd appreciate if one of the first guys that get a call from you to let us know what's happening once you know what's happening, and I will be sure to make sure that all our listeners are all informed of what's going on. Because, as you mentioned beforehand, aside of just the corporate BAE, there is a lot of SMEs who are going to benefit considerably from the announcement of this program. So let's touch base a little bit later on.

Brian Gathright: Absolutely, Phil. Thank you for your time.

Phil Tarrant: Thanks, Brian. I appreciate your time. Check out defenceconnect.com.au, if not yet subscribed to our morning market intelligence so you're the first to know what's happening in defence and defence industry at defenceconnect.com.au/subscribe. If you like your social media just search for Defence Connect, you could like and follow us. Any questions at all for myself, or even for Brian, I'll make sure it gets passed on, whether you're an SME or otherwise an editor at defenceconnect.com.au, I'll make sure that gets to him. I will be back again next time, until then bye-bye.

 

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