Momentum

2013

Raytheon Australia’s Business Review, Momentum

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In a recent address to the Canberra chapter of the Australian Society for Defence Engineering I presented my thoughts on the future of naval shipbuilding in Australia. Raytheon Australia Managing Director, Michael Ward, speaks about his latest contribution to the shipbuilding debate. I prefaced my remarks by making the observation that indigenous defence industry has become a key component of national defence capability. Defence industry is no longer just an arms length provider of commodity goods and services but rather one of the fundamental elements of the national security infrastructure. View Michael Ward's bio Having made that point it was worth noting that the type of industry capabilities required to deliver against modern warfighting requirements take considerable time and investment to establish and develop, just as they deteriorate quickly and require a consistent throughput of work to maintain. What this means is that a strategic view and commitment is required of certain defence industry capabilities and that such an approach is fundamental Australia needs to have sovereign capabilities in submarines and major surface combatants. This is particularly the case in integrating and sustaining combat systems which are incredibly valuable to the nation. 6 Momentum to any consideration of the future of Australia's defence capability. To be clear, defence industry should not succumb to the rent seeking approaches apparent in some other sectors, nor should it expect any free ride. After all, defence industry exists to support the nation's defence requirements and not the other way around. However, the characteristics of a highly capable indigenous defence industry, and the need to sustain it in the national interest, should be a consideration in any strategic decision about defence posture, capability and expenditure. It was in this context that I turned my remarks to the example of Australian industry's role in future naval programs. Australia currently has extant capabilities for the construction of major surface combatants such as the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) and Future Frigate as well as for submarine sustainment, including capability upgrades, and the sustainment of other classes of vessel. I should also include in that list extant capabilities for the construction of Patrol Boats. But it is necessary to distinguish those projects which genuinely add to the industrial self-reliance necessary for our national security from those that don't. Australia needs to have sovereign capabilities in submarines and major surface combatants. This is particularly the case in integrating and sustaining combat systems which are incredibly valuable to the nation.

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