A maritime-focused series was the first to get underway, with similar events centred around land and deployable health capabilities to follow.
Staged in conjunction with each state’s peak defence industry association, the Maritime Projects Industry Roadshow showcased Saab Australia’s comprehensive technological capabilities, major current maritime projects and significant emerging opportunities, including those available through the Saab global supply chain.
According to the leading defence prime’s managing director Dean Rosenfield, the initiative is designed to help support and strengthen domestic industry, and deliver maximum local economic benefit from federal defence spending.
“We’re absolutely committed to building Australian industry,” said Rosenfield. “That’s been the case ever since our establishment in the country in 1987, when we built and integrated the combat management system for the original Anzac-class frigates.
“Having won a number of important contracts this year, we now want to ensure the local benefits of our success - specifically in terms of jobs growth and security - are passed on to Australian SMEs wherever possible.”
During 2016, Saab Australia was appointed as a major partner in the Australian government’s Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA), and selected to integrate its 9LV combat management system in the Royal Australian Navy’s two new Spanish-built auxilliary oiler and replenishment tankers.
It is also a key member of the Lockheed Martin-led team selected as combat systems integrator for Australia’s $50 billion Future Submarine Program, and is providing continuing combat system upgrades for the navy’s Anzac frigates and Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) Canberra-class ships.
This has allowed the company, part of the global Saab Group, to provide great scope for specialist SME-contractor involvement.
“The local opportunities are substantial on just those five projects alone,” said recently appointed Saab Australia head of industry engagement Matt Opie.
“We’re looking for collaborators in areas such as engineering and logistic support, electronic subsystems supply, additional systems, hardware, computing and networking. But that’s only the start - we also have many more windows opening for local industry involvement across our entire field of maritime operations.”
As well as detailing the nature of these emerging avenues for collaboration, each hour-long Maritime Projects Industry Roadshow presentation gave attendees a detailed overview of Saab Australia’s new online industry portal, where they can formally register their business for consideration as a recognised supplier.
Importantly, following the conclusion of official proceedings the audience was provided with the chance to speak with key Saab Australia maritime business development staff.
“Our approach is very much based on building relationships,” said Opie. “So after each presentation, my co-presenters - Geoff Stephens, James Lawless and Suzanne Birch - and I went out of our way to have a chat with as many attendees as possible about their specific offerings and requirements.
“Geoff, James and Suzanne are the people SME owners will personally engage with when it comes to actually winning maritime work with us, so the chance to mix and chat with them was invaluable.”
Saab Australia’s additional roadshows, scheduled to run across November and December, will brief SMEs on their opportunities to collaborate with the prime in other major Australian Defence Force programs, including Land 400 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles and JP 2060 Deployable Health Capability.