Defense provided more information on its plan for the Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise at an industry briefing after the release of the Request for Information (RFI) last week.
The Enterprise will provide the “Enabling Ecosystem” to support the Defense Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Inventory.
It includes capacity elements including manufacturing, research and development, education and training, testing and evaluation, maintenance and repair, storage and distribution, and disposal.
Major-General Andrew Bottrell, Head of the Land Systems Division, provided further advice to industry this week on Defense expectations of the program.
According to MAJGEN Bottrell, the Department is looking to leverage existing infrastructure for the business, including revitalized facilities in Benalla and Mulwala.
“It’s much broader than just manufacturing,” said MAJGEN Bottrell. “We will seek to consolidate a number of activities into a coordinated work program. I mentioned a revitalization of Benalla and Mulwala, including new maintenance facilities, possibly manufacturing capabilities, testing and evaluations, as well. as disposal facilities. “
MAJGEN Bottrell also pointed out that the Defense “has not yet taken any decision”.
“If there is a message today, it is that no decision has been made and any suggestion to the contrary is factually incorrect,” said MAJGEN Bottrell.
In addition, Defense is likely to recommend more than one strategic partner for the Enterprise due to the number of existing guided weapons whose intellectual property is owned by different entities, as well as Defense “concerns” regarding the capability. of a business to be delivered across the entire scope of the business.
“We are aware that the industry has started to self-organize and that is very good,” said MAJGEN Bottrell. “[But] we don’t want entities to think they’ll miss out if they haven’t aligned with an organization. The best opportunity you have to contribute is to register with my staff via the details in the RFI. “
Defense intends to seek intellectual property outside Australia to support the project and has suggested that local foreign premium affiliates exert influence within their parent companies to generate foreign capital inflows.
“The government is [aware] of the need to lead engagement with other governments to secure the intellectual property required to underpin a guided weapons and explosive ordnance business, ”said MAJGEN Bottrell. “But there is also a role for Australian subsidiaries of foreign parent companies to be able to do it as a good thing – to generate that interest and influence within their parent companies.
“If we take the United States, for example, there is extensive government-to-government interaction that has been going on for some time, but it has to be replicated by messages that generate a business imperative for US parent companies to want to invest in the development of a business in Australia. “
A number of business models are still on the table and Defense says it remains open to alternative suggestions from industry as part of the RFI process.
The RFI ends on August 2 and Defense will approach the government with an initial proposal on the corporate strategy and its implementation towards the end of the year.