The Australian government has strengthened its pledge to ensure Australia’s industry is able to support the critical warfighting capabilities of the Australian Defence Force. Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said four new Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities announced today would help to build a robust, resilient and internationally competitive defence industry in Australia. The new priorities are:
- Robotics, Autonomous Systems, and Artificial Intelligence;
- Precision Guided Munitions, Hypersonic weapons, and Integrated Air and Missile Defence Systems;
- Space; and
Price said the additional Priorities reflected the changing strategic environment outlined in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan. “The capabilities covered by these new Priorities are essential to maintaining the Australian Defence Force’s combat edge,” Price said. “The new additions are also focused on providing secure, long-term employment to Australians in 21st century industries and technologies. These priorities build on our existing work of providing guidance and support to industry to develop the critical industrial capabilities which are essential for the ADF. A strong partnership with industry is fundamental to developing Defence capabilities. The priorities announced today provide the necessary guidance to shape our sovereign industrial base. They will increase our self-reliance and contribute to the Australian economy as we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Defence will engage with industry partners to further refine these priorities and develop Industry Plans. Any businesses working in these areas are encouraged to contact Strategic.IndustryPolicy@defence.gov.au to register their interest in contributing to the development of these plans. Further information on the Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities is available here.
The Australian Missile Corporation has welcomed the announcement by the Federal Government of four new Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities to further strengthen the nation’s defence industry. Robert Nioa, CEO of NIOA and the AMC, said the AMC network featured partners with capability depth across the areas announced, in particular guided weapons. “There is significant overlap of technology in these priority areas,” Nioa said. “AMC’s collaborative partnership model and its Capability Intelligence is well positioned to enable this synergistic sharing. This is a welcome announcement from the Federal Government particularly in the area of guided weapons. NIOA and the AMC have been built as truly sovereign corporations that ensure control of key defence projects remains within this country. We are a capable country with excellent defence industry options and today’s announcement reinforces the Morrison Government’s commitment to our industry and to the importance of sovereignty in our defence projects.”
Nioa said the overlap of technology in the new priority areas included the fact that PGMs, Robotics, Autonomous systems and Hypersonic weapons were all forms of a robot that require advanced control systems, Robust Safety Critical software and advanced computing and electronics. He added that some Space access systems and PGMs and all Hypersonic weapons require solid rocket motors while Artificial Intelligence could be applied across the likes of Information Warfare, Cyber and Swarming Unmanned Aircraft Systems and PGMs. “The ability for rapid productionising and deploying technology is itself a Strategic Capability,” Nioa said. “AMC is well placed to focus on enabling infrastructure, systems and culture to ensure the nation can rapidly deploy our developed technology for economic and security advantage.”
BAE Systems Australia also welcomed the announcement by Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, that robotics, autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, precision-guided munitions and hypersonic weapons, integrated air and defence systems will be included in the sovereign industrial capabilities priorities. BAE Systems has invested heavily in these world leading sovereign capabilities through our partnerships with Defence, academia and Australian industry. The company is a key partner on Boeing’s Loyal Wingman project and is also partnering with the Australian Army to install autonomous technology on 20 M113AS4 Armoured Personnel Carriers.
BAE Systems Australia, Managing Director, Defence Delivery, Andrew Gresham said: “There is incredible technical talent and advanced technology expertise already resident in Australia. A structured, prioritised program such as this provides an ideal framework to continue to build an Australian defence industry that nurtures key domestic sovereign capabilities. We look forward to working with Defence to develop these SICP Industry Plans.”