Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne yesterday released the Defence Industrial Capability Plan.
“This Plan introduces an initial list of Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities,” Pyne said. “In approaching the consideration of Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities, we have focused on a definition that covers access to, or control over, the essential skills, technology, intellectual property, financial resources and infrastructure within our defence industrial base.
“The priorities are described at a capability level, rather than a company or technology level. This approach will encourage innovation in existing technologies and provide flexibility in supporting new developments across the Integrated Investment Program capability streams and within individual projects.”
The 10 initial Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities are:
• Collins Class Submarine maintenance and technology upgrade
• Continuous Shipbuilding Program (including rolling submarine acquisition)
• Land Combat Vehicle and technology upgrade
• Enhanced Active and Passive Phased Array Radar Capability
• Combat clothing survivability and signature reduction technologies
• Advanced signal processing capability in Electronic Warfare, Cyber and Information Security, and Signature Management technologies and operations
• Surveillance and Intelligence data collection, analysis and dissemination, and Complex Systems Integration
• Test, Evaluation, Certification and Systems Assurance
• Munitions and Small Arms Research, Design, Development and Manufacture
• Aerospace Platform Deep Maintenance.
Pyne also announced a $17 million competitive grant fund to be administered by the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, which will begin in the middle of this year.
Pyne was also blunt in his explanation of what the Plan means for industry.
“First and foremost, it restates the Government’s policy of maximising the involvement of competitive Australian companies in the acquisition, operation, and sustainment of defence capability,” Pyne said. “The plan has a key message for industry - that we expect all companies, including primes, that want to work with Defence, to consider how they currently or might best fit in to the big picture.
“Put simply, we are redefining the phrase ‘Australian Defence Industry’. Having just an Australian Business Number is not enough if you are planning to be part of this. Being a serious contributor in Australian defence industry means having Australian-based industrial capability.
“It means company and board presence, infrastructure, and a skills base that can complete value-added work here in Australia, employing Australian workers. It’s an important shift, and signals to industry that establishing a shop-front and getting an ABN is no longer enough,” Pyne said.
Pyne also took the opportunity to highlight the work being done so far in speeding up the approvals process for the $200 billion worth of Defence programs in the pipeline. Last financial year the Turnbull Government approved 74 capability related proposals.
“As of March this year we’re already on 90 decisions,” Pyne proclaimed.