Irving replaces outgoing chair Chris Jenkins, chief executive of Thales Australia. While Mr Jenkins is ending his term as Defence Council chair, he remains Ai Group national president.
Andy Keough, managing director of Saab Australia, has been appointed as the new deputy chair.
Ai Group, a national representative body for the Australian defence industry, thanked Jenkins for his contribution and praised the experience Irving and Keough will bring to their new roles.
"We congratulate Mr Irving and Mr Keough on these well-deserved appointments. Both are proven leaders and great supporters of the Australian defence industry," Ai Group CEO Innes Willox said.
"We also thank Chris Jenkins for his extraordinary leadership and contribution to the council since his appointment to the position of chair in September 2011. During the period of Mr Jenkins' leadership, we have seen a transformation in the partnership between Defence and industry and the way Australian industry will deliver capability to our Australian Defence Force.
"Mr Irving and Mr Keough both bring significant capability and experience to these roles at a time when the Australian defence industry is growing rapidly. Both leaders are ideally placed to be a strong voice supporting businesses large and small.
"An essential part of the defence industry in Australia is having a viable and thriving private sector providing the Australian Defence Force with the essential equipment and services it needs to meet the challenges of the future. Mr Irving and Mr Keough will play important leadership roles in ensuring alignment between the requirements of the Department of Defence and industry, providing trusted advice on industry issues and growing our local capabilities."