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CONTENTS LEADING THE WAY:.........................07 FIFTH-GENERATION AIR FORCE The RAAF of the future will be resilient, collaborative, informed, agile and integrated. And, as Air Commodore Darren Goldie explains, these attributes will apply to Air Force personnel as well as to the service’s cutting-edge aircraft. INTERVIEW WITH............................11 VINCE DI PIETRO As the F-35 prime contractor, Lockheed Martin understands the true potential of fifth-generation technology. Vince Di Pietro explains how the company is helping Australia get the most out of its new capabilities. LIGHTNING STRIKES RAAF:.............15 CELEBRATES F-35 HOMECOMING The first two Joint Strike Fighters at Williamtown puts sustainment under the spotlight, with Lockheed Martin outlining how costs are coming down. 2

CAPACITY BUILDING:................... 22 F-35 SUSTAINMENT BAE Systems is steadily ramping up its MRO&U capability. STRONGER TOGETHER:............... 24 BOEING EMPHASISES IMPORTANCE OF TEAMWORK As the ADF seeks to integrate its platforms, lessons learned from the operation of the Wedgetail might offer a way forward. MARITIME SURVEILLANCE:.......... 28 TRITON UAS ACQUISITION Northrop Grumman highlights its role for Australian industry in MQ-4C remotely piloted aircraft program. NEXT GENERATION SKILLS.......... 30 The arrival of the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in the Hunter region is momentous.


NEW DIMENSIONS FOR............... 33 DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY Rapid developments in autonomous systems, AI and remote control are transforming military technology. OPINION PIECE WITH.................. 38 DR MIKE KELLY The Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence Industry and Support shares his views on Labor’s defence policy for the future. DEFENCE INDUSTRY.................... 42 STATE BY STATE To create a sovereign defence capability requires strong collaboration between the commonwealth, the state and territory governments and industry, all the way down to startups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).


SMES CRITICAL FOR........................50 SOVEREIGN CAPABILITY Where the 2016 Defence White Paper outlined Australia’s strategic direction at a high level, the 2018 Defence Industrial Capability Plan is a detailed and practical roadmap on how to achieve the nation’s defence goals through a sovereign industry. HYBRID SYSTEMS............................54 In many projects over several years, the ADF has engaged the Capability Systems Centre at the University of NSW’s Canberra campus and leveraged the centre’s multi-disciplinary team for advice. KBRWYLE LEADS THE WAY.............56 WITH AR AND VR TRAINING Augmented and virtual reality solutions are the way forward as Defence trains on next generation platforms, and KBRwyle is at the forefront of this new training environment.

SUSTAINING NEW CAPABILITIES......61 The Australian Army has been assembling a range of next generation capabilities, from new vehicles to solider combat ensembles and battle management capabilities. F-35 AND BEYOND...........................62 There is great excitement as Australia welcomes the arrival of its first F-35, an aircraft that signals a new era. NAVY MANAGING............................65 ASSET LIFETIMES With a number of new programs at the beginning of their lifecycles, the Navy also has a significant task in sustaining existing assets to maintain capability. QUEENSLAND BECOMES THE........66 ‘KHAKI STATE’ WITH LAND400 Rheinmetall’s commitment to build the Boxer CRV vehicle in South East Queensland is transformative both for

the company’s operations in Australia, and also for the development of the state’s defence industry. AUSTRALIA RAMPS UP....................68 PROTECTION WITH CYBER SECURITY CENTRE The government has recognised the rapidly growing threat of the cyber dimension in Australia and its response has culminated in the creation of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and the new Joint Cyber Security Centre (JCSC) program. NEW HYDROGRAPHIC SHIP,...........70 NEW CAPABILITIES Under Project SEA2400 Phase 1, the Royal Australian Navy will acquire a new hydrographic survey ship. An invitation has gone out to industry for suitable specialist proposals, which can either be a modified platform or an inservice design.



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FIFTH-GENERATION AIR FORCE The RAAF of the future will be resilient, collaborative, informed, agile and integrated. And, as Air Commodore Darren Goldie explains, these attributes will apply to Air Force personnel as well as to the service’s cutting-edge aircraft. By Robert Nutbrown.


he Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is pursuing an ambitious plan to become a fifth-generation air force that entails far more than the acquisition of a fleet of fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters. In fact, as Chief of Air Force (CAF) Air Marshal (AIRMSHL) Leo Davies has declared, the RAAF is aiming to become the first “fully fifth-generation” force. This means the significant challenge of achieving integration across the Australian Defence Force (ADF) must be overcome. At the same time, Australia needs to consider how it is likely to be operating in the future in concert with its allies, particularly the US. Under the leadership of AIRMSHL Davies, who was appointed as CAF in July 2015, the RAAF has been working

hard over recent years to refine the transformative fifth-generation Air Force concept. “The idea has resonated with the men and women of Air Force,” says Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Darren Goldie, Director General Air Combat Capability, Air Force Headquarters. “I would extend that to say the idea has resonated with air forces and other services around the world. Quite a lot of foreign air forces, and our navy and army partners, have come to talk to Air Force about this term [fifth-generation Air Force] and what it means.” At the heart of the RAAF’s effort to become a fifth-generation fighting force is the notion of taking inspiration from the characteristics of fifth-generation technology to inform the set of qualities

that Air Force is striving to instil in itself as an organisation through the individuals that make up its workforce. So what would a fifth-generation air force actually look like? The team responsible for Plan Jericho, which is the RAAF strategy that encourages the development of a culture of innovation and emphasises the importance of greater integration, has articulated a vision of the Air Force of the future as being resilient, collaborative, informed, agile and integrated. The task for Air Force Headquarters is to apply these attributes throughout all aspects of its work as the centre of strategic leadership for the RAAF. AIRCDRE Goldie’s wide-ranging role as Director General Air Combat Capability encompasses responsibility not only for air combat aircraft and associated weapons but also for air awareness capabilities such as the E-7A Wedgetail; command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems such as the P-8A Poseidon and MQ-4C Triton; and space assets. Meanwhile, his colleague AIRCDRE Mark Green is responsible for air mobility, cyber and training in the role of Director General Air Capability Enablers. AIRCDRE Goldie was until October 2018 the Officer Commanding 92 Wing, so it comes as no surprise that he chooses to use the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to illustrate his point. “Whatever we are buying, whatever we are doing with our workforce, whatever we are doing with our networks and how we work with the joint force; everything comes back to looking at those attributes,” he says. “The P-8, for instance, that we are acquiring, is it resilient? For instance, does it have multiple layers of communications and connectivity redundancy?





“Is it collaborative? Does it fit in with the joint force; does it fit in with the combined [force], in other words, with partners and allied forces? Does the result of the collaboration mean the system as a whole performs better than the sum of its parts? “And is it informed? Does that aircraft have the right information coming into the mission system and crew, both pre-flight in terms of mission data, but also during the flight? “And then the last two are pretty self-explanatory: is it agile and is it fully integrated across the joint force?” These attributes can be used to describe an aircraft, but equally the aim is for Air Force personnel collectively to exhibit these traits. Put simply, this endeavour is at least as much about people as it is about platforms. WINDS OF CHANGE The five attributes that will define a fifth-generation air force, as specified by the Jericho team, are distinct from the “strategic change vectors” that were outlined in the Air Force Strategy 2017-2027. The five themes that were listed in that document are the most significant areas of organisational change that are shaping the RAAF’s transformation into a fifth-generation force, namely: joint warfighting capability, people capability, communication and information systems, infrastructure and international engagement. “A fifth-generation Air Force is a fully networked force that exploits the combatmultiplier effects of a readily available, integrated and shared battlespace picture to deliver lethal and non-lethal air power,” the Air Force Strategy stated. “A fifth-generation Air Force will provide the joint and networked effects necessary to prevail against the increasingly complex and lethal threats of warfare in the information age.” While there is not necessarily any single Air Force Strategy vector that is considered to be more important than any other, RAAF


personnel underpin everything Air Force does. And the RAAF’s ability to recruit and retain the right people will certainly be a crucial factor in determining whether or not the service can put itself in a position to take full advantage of its cutting-edge technological capabilities. “We are finding out there are more and more bespoke qualifications and skills that our people need,” AIRCDRE Goldie observes. “A great example would be space and cyber, [which are] not current specialisations or musterings or job positions within our Air Force; they are done by people that have broader qualifications and training that can be employed in other roles. “We need organisational agility to respond to the changing environment. So as we go forward, how do we reshape our Air Force, [understanding] that we need a significant force dealing with data, managing our networks and managing the infrastructure that supports it?” AIRCDRE Goldie explains that although the people aspect of the RAAF’s push to transform itself into a fifth-generation fighting force is undoubtedly critical, it is also a vector that Air Force can control reasonably well through its own internal efforts. And, similarly, the RAAF has relatively good control over how it prepares to operate across the air, space and cyber domains as part of the joint ADF. But when it comes to the other key areas of change, external factors will have a greater influence over Air Force’s transformation. Becoming a fifth-generation air force is not an objective the RAAF can achieve if it works in isolation. “People and joint warfighting; that is something we can learn relatively well, and we can adapt and we can continue,” AIRCDRE Goldie says. “It is a big challenge. But it is the other vectors – communication and information systems, infrastructure and international engagement – where we do not necessarily control all of those levers. “It therefore requires collaboration


across the whole Defence enterprise, across whole of government, and in some cases across the oceans to our partners, to achieve our ends.” For example, if Air Force is to fully exploit the potential of the fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35, it needs to understand the advanced technology that underpins the aircraft, how to train RAAF pilots and maintenance personnel, and how the sustainment system will function. But that is not all. “How sophisticated as an enterprise is our understanding of the type and volume of mission data that needs to be loaded beforehand?” AIRCDRE Goldie asks rhetorically. “That reaches out into all of the Australian intelligence community.” CONNECTIVITY CHALLENGE Given the inconceivably large amounts of data that contemporary military activities involve, Goldie says, the biggest challenge that the RAAF faces is in the area of networks and information systems, broadly defined. “How much data will flow into Defence on a daily basis? How is that data managed, characterised, exploited, made available to commanders and decisionmakers in a timely fashion? “And what is the infrastructure that supports that at the various security classification levels? Because it would not make sense if every single byte of data was travelling through a top secret network if it was not top secret. “We must know when to exploit modern unclassified cloud-like technologies and when to compartmentalise information, and it need not be a human who makes these decisions.” When it comes to working out how to enable different systems to share information even when they were not originally intended to be able to talk to each other, the way forward is not clear. The demonstration of Airborne Gateway technology from Northrop Grumman that was held in Australia in 2016 was a “very successful” trial, AIRCDRE Goldie says.



“The need to integrate legacy systems into the future force remains extant; however, the means by which this will be achieved is still being defined,” he continues. “Joint Capabilities Group will undertake further investigation into advanced tactical networking and gateway technologies through JP9347, the Multi-Tactical Data Link Network sub-program, which may drive future airborne gateway capabilities.” Air Force envisages its communication and information systems being connected to each other, and interoperable with the other ADF services and Australia’s allies in order to facilitate integrated operations. At the same time, the RAAF’s systems obviously must be robust enough to cope with congested and contested operational environments. As important as it is, the future AIR6500 Phase 1 joint battle management system is not a ‘silver bullet’ solution that, when implemented, will enable Air Force to achieve its networking objective. AIRCDRE Goldie points out that one of the challenges for AIR6500 will be to constrain the scope of the far-reaching project so that a complete capability can be delivered at a point in time. Meanwhile, the RAAF will have to try to avoid becoming distracted by constantly seeking to add the next piece of technology that could be just around the corner. “The current fixed and deployable air battle management capability will at some stage reach the end of its life, and we see the end of its life sometime round the mid2020s,” AIRCDRE Goldie says. “Therefore that needs a replacement. “But it is not a case of merely replacing the radar with the new radar, and the C2 [command and control] system that is currently there with a new C2 system. That would just be a like-for-like replacement, and that is not getting us towards that fifthgeneration Air Force.” Speaking at the Defence Innovation Hub industry update event that was held in Canberra in October 2018, AIRMSHL

Davies stated that he believes Defence and industry “are not quite aligned” in terms of their respective approaches to AIR6500. CAF said each one of the prospective prime contractors was offering its own solution to the exclusion of the other proposals. However, he is looking for a single answer, or at least a refined set of options. As for Air Force, the requirements for the project have not been defined clearly enough, CAF stated. And within the RAAF there is a tendency to aim to acquire a better version of the equipment it already has, he said, because the opportunities that innovation would present are not yet understood. COMMON CAUSE Considering the RAAF’s effort to become a fifth-generation fighting force from a technological perspective, one of the great advantages Australia has is that it boasts a high degree of platform commonality with the US, its principal ally. The US Air Force operates the F-35A variant Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), while the US Navy operates the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter and the EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack platform. And, in the not too distant future, the RAAF will join the US Navy as an operator of the MQ-4C Triton remotely piloted aircraft, complementing its P-8A Poseidon. “P-8, and Triton to follow, are examples of those true cooperative partnerships where we are effectively an equity partner in the development of the aircraft,” AIRCDRE Goldie says. “While that means we share some risk, we also share the benefits that come from that aircraft and the privileged access that that gets us to understand what direction [the US Navy is] taking.” Throughout the Integrated Investment Program document that was published with the 2016 Defence White Paper there were references to Australia’s plans to maintain commonality with US systems. This includes, among others, the F-35, Growler, P-8 and Triton, as well as the MC-

55A long-range electronic warfare (EW) support aircraft. The MC-55A, which is a modified Gulfstream G550, is being acquired through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Under the project known as AIR555 Phase 1, the airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare (ISREW) capability that is currently being trialled on the AP-3C Orion is being replaced. The aircraft is expected to achieve initial operational capability (IOC) in mid-2023. As for the Growler, the RAAF has no immediate plans to replace the aircraft that was involved in an accident at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in January 2018, AIRCDRE Goldie confirms. However, Air Force might not be sticking with a fleet of 11 electronic attack aircraft indefinitely. “The question of whether we replace the twelfth Growler will be answered through the normal Defence acquisition process,” AIRCDRE Goldie says. “We will determine the need, cost and timing, but ultimately a decision whether or not to acquire a replacement twelfth aircraft will be balanced against other portfolio opportunities. It will enter the normal capability development cycle, although we are working with the USN on potential financial recourse as a result of the accident.” The arrival in December of the first two fifth-generation F-35 fighters to be permanently based in Australia was a tangible demonstration of where Air Force is heading, AIRCDRE Goldie says in conclusion. “A few years ago, it was a discussion of our future,” he says. “One day we will have a P-8, and one day we will have a Growler, and one day we will have a JSF. “We now have P-8s and Growlers and JSFs, and in the future we will have an MQ-9 [Reaper remotely piloted aircraft] variant and a Triton.d it really starts to allow Air Force to really believe and understand what the future is going to be.”



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LOCKHEED MARTIN As the F-35 prime contractor, Lockheed Martin understands the true potential of fifth-generation technology. Vince Di Pietro explains how the company is helping Australia get the most out of its new capabilities. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is aiming to become the first fifthgeneration air force in the world. Can you explain how the introduction of the force-multiplying capability of the F-35 Lightning II is making this possible? To create a fifth-generation-enabled force, the RAAF is building a system of advanced capabilities that is well beyond the purchase of individual platforms. The RAAF is evolving from its current state towards an integrated and interoperable fifthgeneration fighting force. This means adopting new concepts of operations; changed training, tactics and procedures; and new ways of thinking about air warfare, with consequent impacts on the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and how Australia works in future coalitions. The acquisition of the F-35 is not simply about providing a replacement aircraft; rather it is the catalyst for broader force transformation across the RAAF and the ADF. The F-35 is integral to a networked fifthgeneration battlespace bringing to the fore next-generation capabilities including stealth, advanced sensors, data fusion and an ability to share

information with Australia’s air, land and sea platforms. The F-35 is so much more than a fighter jet. It is transformational, delivering fused situational awareness to our forces, and enhances the capabilities of other airborne, surface and ground-based platforms enabling faster decision-making, at longer ranges, and extends the military warfighting options well beyond those currently available. What is Lockheed Martin’s approach to the AIR6500 joint battle management system project? Ownership of one of the most advanced defence forces in the world is within Australia’s reach – a fully networked, fifth-generation enhanced battle management system that integrates air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. By advancing the sovereign capabilities necessary to support development, deployment and sustainment of the system, AIR6500 can also create significant opportunities for local industry, putting Australia in the lead of innovation. Our approach is to collaborate with

the ADF, other prime contractors, Australian industry and small and medium enterprises, and academia to build sovereign capability in Australia. Drawing on the best technology available from the US, whilst simultaneously creating a high-tech and enduring Australian workforce through in-country development; local integration; industry mentoring; and technology transfer. With this at front of mind, for Lockheed Martin Australia, a prime systems integrator (PSI)-led team approach represents the most pragmatic solution to achieving the AIR6500 vision. Our plan is to deliver a comprehensive Joint Battle Management System (JBMS) and Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) capability based on our understanding of fifth-generation technologies, as well as our extensive involvement in IAMD systems in the US. We believe that only Lockheed Martin Australia has the proven experience in design and integration of complex system-of-systems with the ability to manage the risk inherent in such a bold future. By adopting ‘best of breed’ technology, incremental capability enhancements, open mission systems and our proven rapid capability insertion model we offer the unique expertise needed for this complex program. We are working closely with Defence, Australian industry and academia to inform our solution, which will be hosted on a Lockheed Martin-developed fifth-generation network backbone.





The federal government has thrown its weight behind the Australian defence industry in recent years. What areas of industry policy, if any, do you think still require attention? I don’t believe it is right for Lockheed Martin Australia to comment specifically on Government policy. But we will say that we have always seen the Australian defence industry as fundamental to how we deliver programs locally but also in terms of finding world-class capability into which we can plug our global supply chains. Focused industry development delivered in partnership with the


Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC) and prime contractors under the Global Supply Chain program has had significant impacts on raising the industrial base and broadly assisting SMEs to become better skilled at business development, program management, bid responses, etcetera. In terms of newer entrants from adjacent markets, the one-stop shop nature of the CDIC has led to significant reductions in the time it has taken these companies to become more defence-ready. From the perspective of our engagements with the broader small to medium enterprise community, we have noticed a steady increase in


the confidence of new and emerging smaller businesses to take those first steps in getting out and about into industry and approaching the primes. Be this at trade shows, via the CDIC, state government introductions, industry associations or even via cold call, there is a real and tangible buzz within the defence industry here in Australia that is permeating into a more confident industry. Add to this the training and mentoring that is offered by the primes as well as via the government and industry associations, the Australian defence industry is well placed to compete for global opportunities and enhance local ones.



“The acquisition of the F-35 is not simply about providing a replacement aircraft; rather it is the catalyst for broader force transformation across the RAAF and the ADF. The F-35 is integral to a networked fifth-generation battlespace bringing to the fore nextgeneration capabilities including stealth, advanced sensors, data fusion and an ability to share information with Australia’s air, land and sea platforms.” expect this level of engagement to be ongoing, we have already identified Australian SMEs that we believe can form part of an industry coalition to build enduring sovereign fifthgeneration capability. We have found Australian industry, particularly SMEs, across a range of areas, and academia, to be very interested in the opportunities that will become available through the adoption or creation of fifthgeneration technology. Lockheed Martin is interested in establishing these enduring relationships that will power the take-up of fifthgeneration capability.

To what extent are Australian companies and research organisations prepared to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Australian Defence Force’s adoption of fifth-generation technology? What is Lockheed Martin doing to support involvement in high-tech programs? We have been talking with Australian industry for some time through a structured series of roadshows across the entire nation and in detailed face-to-face collaboration to understand the technology that is currently available, or could become available, to support projects like AIR6500. Although we

Excitement is growing around the creation of the Australian Space Agency. What is Lockheed Martin Australia’s involvement in the emerging space sector in Australia? We do have some exciting plans; however, we are not in a position to provide detail at this time. Stay tuned in 2019. Lockheed Martin Australia is the combat system integrator for the Future Submarine program, and has been selected to provide the Aegis combat management system and announced as a combat system integration partner for the Future Frigate program; meanwhile, you are ramping up your F-35 workforce

in Australia. With a number of major Defence acquisition decisions having been made in recent times, do you now have a clear view of where Lockheed Martin Australia is heading in coming years? It is an exciting time for us all in Lockheed Martin Australia. Our vision is to be Australia’s partner of choice for defence, aerospace, sustainment and technology solutions, and we are working very hard to live up to it. Our diverse programs form a critical backbone of Australia’s current and future defence capabilities including next-generation pilot training; combat systems integration; rotary-wing systems and sustainment; fifthgeneration air combat capability; and surveillance across the air, sea, land and space domains. Our focus is sharply on providing our customers the world’s leading capabilities delivered through our Australian workforce, providing genuine opportunities for our local industry to develop high-end skills, including the development of advanced technologies and sustainment. I am very proud that Lockheed Martin programs and projects directly support an additional 3,600 Australian industry jobs in advanced manufacturing and high-technology industries, providing Australia with important sovereign capability.




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The arrival of the first two Joint Strike Fighters at Williamtown puts sustainment arrangements under the spotlight, with Lockheed Martin outlining how costs are coming down. By Robert Nutbrown.


ith the acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is introducing what promises to be a transformational capability that offers low-observable stealth performance, data fusion and advanced electronic warfare (EW) capabilities. But it is not just the cutting- edge Joint Strike Fighter itself that makes

the F-35 weapon system a fifthgeneration air combat capability. According to F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin, setting up a costeffective sustainment enterprise has been part of the company’s thinking from the very beginning of the program. “The F-35’s fifth-generation sustainment concept is an innovative,

global ecosystem,” says Neale Prescott, Director of Business Development for Rotary and Mission Systems, Lockheed Martin Australia & New Zealand. “We have established a worldwide network of operational, intermediate and heavy sustainment hubs that enable international industrial participation and partnership like never before. “At the unit level, there are many examples of how the next generation of sustainment is changing how fleets are maintained. For example, sustainment was designed into the F-35 from day one, making flight-line maintenance simpler and more costeffective.”





generation of sustainment is changing how fleets are maintained. For example, sustainment was designed into the F-35 from day one, making flight-line maintenance simpler and more cost-effective.” The first two F-35 aircraft to be permanently based in Australia, A35009 and A35-010, arrived at their new home at RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales in December. The fighters are being operated by No 3 Squadron (3SQN), which is the RAAF’s first F-35 squadron. Australia has committed to acquiring 72 of the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant F-35A aircraft to form three operational squadrons based at Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory, plus a training squadron at Williamtown. A possible fourth operational squadron at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland could potentially replace the F/A-18F Super Hornet, taking the


total order to 100 aircraft. But the Super Hornets might end up being replaced by something else entirely, such as a future unmanned fighter. The F-35 is replacing the RAAF’s F/A-18A/B ‘classic’ Hornet fleet.


Air Force accepted A35-009 at Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona in September 2018 as the first F-35 to be operated by 3SQN. The previous eight RAAF aircraft had come under the command of the international pilot training centre at the base west of Phoenix. Lockheed Martin delivered A35010 to 3SQN in October, marking the completion of RAAF aircraft deliveries for 2018. Defence stated at the time that the RAAF’s ninth and tenth aircraft would be operated independently at Luke AFB under Australian command and that they would use the Australian-


operated Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS). ALIS is the fleet management backbone of the F-35 capability, providing Air Force with the hardware, software and data that enable maintenance management, fault diagnostics, supply support, mission planning and training management activities to be carried out. “ALIS is country agnostic, meaning the Australian ALIS is identical to the US ALIS,” says Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Leigh Tinker, 3SQN Senior Engineer. “Although identical, how we input and manage data can be tailored to suit our regulatory and operating requirements. 3 Squadron has invested significant effort developing procedures to ensure a consistent approach to data entry while maintaining data integrity.” ALIS is designed to bring together a wealth of maintenance and supply chain information within a secure

environment, providing users with a single management tool to support all F-35 operations. Defence accepted delivery of the first two of 15 cabins that are part of the F-35 deployable information systems capability from Lockheed Martin Australia in November. Varley Group manufactured the cabins, which will provide secure workspaces for personnel supporting operations and maintenance activities. “The F-35 captures and reports unprecedented amounts of critical health data that enables units to predict, plan and execute maintenance actions,” says Prescott. “ALIS takes what used to be done with many disparate systems and hundreds of man-hours of planning and coordination to sustain fourthgen platforms; never has there been a holistic logistics IT system that ties the entire sustainment tail together. “Another example [of fifthgeneration sustainment] is the sustainability of the low-observable coating. What was a tedious and time-consuming process on other airframes is now more efficient and cost-effective for the F-35 community; in fact, stealth-related maintenance is exceeding all requirements to date. “Similarly, parts reliability and maintainability on the F-35 far exceeds legacy aircraft. More than 90% of parts are exceeding reliability requirements, and 95% of line replaceable components are single tier and accessible at the first level of panel entry.”


RAAF maintainers have started training at the integrated training centre at Williamtown, Defence announced in November 2018; previously, Australian maintenance personnel had done all of their training on the F-35 in the US. That said, Air Force maintainers will

continue to be posted to Luke AFB to further their knowledge of F-35 maintenance and logistics while the Australian training capability is being developed. About 80% of the F-35 maintenance workforce will be drawn from the existing classic Hornet workforce. “We have taken on the philosophy of nose-to-tail maintenance, where every F-35A maintainer can do any job on the aircraft,” stated Wing Commander (WGCDR) Darren Clare, Commanding Officer of 3SQN. “We will still have our specialists, but we need to build maximum potential from a small force. Maintenance personnel also need to be low-observable specialists, as they need to fully understand the impact they might be having on the aircraft’s signature. “These are new skills that are necessary in a fifth-generation workforce.” Among the items of F-35 training equipment that were delivered to Williamtown in May 2018 were three aircraft systems maintenance trainers, which are virtual flight-line environments that immerse technicians in all F-35 maintenance tasks, along with an ejection systems maintenance trainer (ESMT) and a weapons load trainer (WLT). While the ESMT represents the cockpit area, canopy and US16E ejection seat, the WLT is representative of the section of the aircraft from the rear of the canopy to the rear of the fuselage, including internal weapons bays (for different aircraft variants) and hardpoints underneath the wings. As of December, 3SQN has six pilots and 40 maintainers. Given that it would be impossible to expose pilots to the full range of scenarios they might encounter while operating the F-35 using a live training environment alone, simulation understandably




“Our training is light years ahead of legacy. Never has there been a [pilot] trainer enabling a near 50:50 split between live and virtual, and our maintenance training platforms are like nothing we have seen before in that arena.” plays a particularly important role in the training system. “Our training is light years ahead of legacy,” says Prescott. “Never has there been a [pilot] trainer enabling a near 50:50 split between live and virtual, and our maintenance training platforms are like nothing we have seen before in that arena. “And we are seeing better-trained F-35 operators and technicians as a result. We still have room to improve, but the fifth-generation of sustainment looks to be a promising one.” There are two F-35 full mission simulators already operational at

Williamtown, with another four to be delivered through 2020. Globally, more than 700 pilots and 6,500 maintainers from 10 different countries have been trained since the start of the F-35 program. “We have really taken student and instructor feedback seriously to improve the training,” explains Prescott. “The closer we can make the training experience to what warfighters will experience in the field the better, and we continually update the training system as the aircraft, processes and procedures in the field mature.

“We are continually striving to make pilot training more efficient in terms of transitioning them seamlessly from the simulator to the aircraft. “The best practices from a proven system established in the US are shared with international F-35 communities, notably through Lockheed Martin’s Global Mobile Training Team.” The group of subject matter experts arrived in Australia in August 2018 to provide specialised training for personnel from Air Force and operational training services company Milskil. Milskil stated in February 2018 that Lockheed Martin had selected the training provider as preferred supplier to deliver a range of F-35 training services at the Williamtown base. “Optimising the training systems is a priority for Lockheed Martin, and

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OUTLOOK OUTLOOK we are investing $30 million through we are investing $30 millioncosts through 2020 to reduce sustainment and 2020 to reducethe sustainment costs and further improve capabilities of our further improve the capabilities of training systems,” adds Prescott. our training systems,” adds Prescott.

SUSTAINMENT COSTS A SUSTAINMENT report published byCOSTS the Australian

A reportAudit published the Australian National Officeby (ANAO) National Audit Offi ce (ANAO) in December that examined the in December that examined the effectiveness of Defence’s preparations effectiveness of Defence’s preparations for the introduction into service and for the introduction into service and sustainment of the F-35 concluded that sustainment of the F-35 concluded that it will not be possible to determine the it will not be possible to determine the cost of sustaining the aircraft until the cost of sustaining the aircraft until the Global Support Solution is sufficiently Global Support Solution is sufficiently mature. mature. Australia plans to use the US Australia plans to use the US Department of Defense’s Global Department of Defense’s Global Support SupportSolution Solutiontotosustain sustainthe the RAAF’s RAAF’saircraft aircrafttotothe thegreatest greatestextent extent possible possible(except (exceptfor forsome somesovereign sovereign sustainment sustainmentrequirements), requirements),primarily primarily because becauseofofanananticipated anticipatedreduction reduction in in

cost brought about by economies of cost brought about by economies of scale. scale. This means that the successful This means that successful implementation ofthe Australia’s implementation of Australia’s sustainment arrangements for the sustainment arrangements forthe the F-35 is largely dependent on F-35 is largely dependent on the effectiveness (or otherwise) of the effectiveness (orSolution otherwise) of the Global Support itself, Global Support Solution itself, particularly in the early stages of the particularly in the early stages of the program. program. The audit report stated that Defence The audit report stated that Defence does not anticipate being able to does not anticipate being able to come up with a reliable estimate for come up with a reliable estimate for whole-of-life sustainment costs until whole-of-life sustainment costs until after 2020. after 2020. According to the report, Defence According to the report, Defence is not expecting the Global Support is not expecting the Global Support Solution to have reached “full Solution to have reached “full maturity” after maturity” until until sometime sometime after 2023, year in in which which 2023, which which is is the the year fifinal operational capability (FOC) isis nal operational capability (FOC) scheduled to be achieved by Australia. scheduled to be achieved by Australia. Prescott that Lockheed Lockheed Prescott emphasises emphasises that

Martin is adopting an “aggressive” Martin is adopting an “aggressive” approach to reducing the cost of approach to reducing the cost of sustainment. sustainment. “The F-35 sustainment cost per tail/ “The F-35 costthree per tail/ per year hassustainment been reduced years per reduced three years in ayear row,has andbeen a total of about 15% insince a row, and ahe total of about 15% 2015,” says. “Just as we have since 2015,” he says. “Just as we have been able to do in F-35 production been able to do in production cost reduction, weF-35 are taking cost reduction, we are taking aggressive action to significantly lower aggressive action to significantly lower sustainment costs to be equal to or sustainment costs to be equal to or less than the cost of legacy aircraft. less than the cost of legacy aircraft. “We are now able to capture “We are now able to capture and analyse data across hundreds and analyse data across hundreds of thousands of flight hours to of thousands of flight hours to understand the biggest drivers to understand the biggest drivers to improve readiness and reduce costs. improve readiness and reduce costs. To do this, we are investing and taking To do this, we are investing and taking actiontotoimprove improveparts partsavailability, availability, action optimisemaintenance, maintenance,enhance enhanceALIS ALIS optimise and streamline our partnerships.” and streamline our partnerships.” Forexample, example,Lockheed LockheedMartin Martinhas has For establishedaaproduct productsupport supportprovider provider established

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network in Australia, with four companies tasked with repairing and calibrating training, logistics and support equipment, which will lead to significant savings, he adds. These companies are HI Fraser, Marand, Survitec and WesTrac. The ANAO report noted that the US government ultimately controls the management of the pool of spares for the global F-35 fleet. The spare parts supply system is not yet fully developed and has experienced shortages as a result of competition for parts as the global fleet of aircraft has increased in size, the report stated. “F-35 reliability continues to improve, and newer aircraft are now delivering between 60% and 70% mission capable rates,” says Prescott. “Our customers have set a goal of delivering 80% mission capable rates, and we fully support and embrace those efforts. “We are partnering with government customers to accelerate their depot repair capacity and reduce repair turnaround times. We are leveraging analytics to identify the parts and components we can enhance, re-compete or second-source to improve reliability, maintainability or supply chain capacity. “We are collaborating with the F-35 Joint Program Office to accelerate modifications for earlier aircraft to bring them

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up to the excellent reliability standards of newer F-35s. “We are integrating software suites to optimise spares levels and enable predictive analytics, and we are investing in the ALIS infrastructure to improve user experience, lower maintenance labour and dramatically improve speed. “As the operational fleet grows, the sustainment enterprise matures and we continue to implement improvements, we are confident F-35 readiness rates will increase and sustainment costs will be reduced drastically.”


The report from the ANAO identified the ALIS fleet management tool as being “one of the most significant technical and schedule risks” for the global program, and highlighted Defence’s concerns about the security of Australian data within the ALIS environment. As the report noted, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract in August 2018 relating to ALIS security, with work to focus on providing international partners with the ability to review and, if necessary, block messages to prevent any unwanted transfer of sensitive data. “Sovereign data management capabilities enable F-35

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operators to have more control over sovereign data being shared with Lockheed Martin,” says Prescott. “We have provided information to the international F-35 customers that enables them to develop their own inspection devices to manage information shared with Lockheed Martin through ALIS. We are also developing a program device that will manage sovereign data through ALIS for nations who do not wish to build their own.” He adds: “There are no ALIS issues that impede Australia’s ability to receive and operate the F-35, and ALIS is already prepared to support operations in Australia.” Vulnerability to cyber attacks is an obvious worry for any military capability, given the importance of connectivity. A report released by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) in October 2018 that reviewed the state of cyber-security measures for US weapon systems warned that “testers playing the role of adversary were able to take control of systems relatively easily and operate largely undetected”. However, protecting the F-35 against cyber attacks is absolutely fundamental to the program, insists Prescott. “Cyber testing is a robustly resourced and recurring activity across all spectrums of the program including air vehicle, training systems, mission software, reprogramming laboratories and logistical support systems,” he says. “Lockheed Martin continues to make significant investments in countering cyber-security threats, and we remain confident in the integrity of our robust, multilayered information systems security. “Safeguarding the F-35 enterprise against the continually evolving cyber threat is foundational to the F-35 program, and we are constantly monitoring, assessing and improving our cyber-security posture across all areas of the program.”


The RAAF is scheduled to achieve initial operational capability (IOC) with the F-35 by the end of 2020, Defence stated in December, with about 30 to 33 aircraft expected to be operating in Australia by that stage. IOC involves the stand-up of the first F-35 squadron. Leading up to the anticipated declaration of IOC, 3SQN will be working closely with other organisations in the F-35 enterprise during what is known as the Verification and Validation (V&V) program. This effort is intended to assess the performance of the aircraft and supporting systems in Australia to ensure that the overall capability meets Australian requirements. “We need to exercise the whole system,” says WGCDR Clare, Commanding Officer of 3SQN. “By that I mean making sure the sustainment and support processes work,

and that we have what we need in the right place at the right time. “We also need to ensure our security processes work; we have the right workforce structure; our training systems are producing quality pilots and maintenance personnel; and that the Autonomic Logistics Information System and reprogramming capability are operating as required.” 3SQN personnel will be participating in a range of different training activities, including domestic deployments and weapons tests in Australia and the US. “The F-35A requires a new way of thinking,” WGCDR Clare states. “Absolutely everyone working on the F-35 is critical to operational success; ALIS binds everything together so tightly that even the database managers are crucial to the outcomes of the mission.” Australia is scheduled to receive another eight F-35 aircraft in the course of 2019, with a further 15 expected to be delivered in 2020. The final operational capability (FOC) milestone is due to be reached by the RAAF at the end of 2023, with the acceptance of the last of the 72 aircraft pencilled in for August of that year.

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CAPACITY BUILDING: F-35 SUSTAINMENT BAE Systems Australia is steadily ramping up its MRO&U capability. By Robert Nutbrown.


mid the excitement surrounding the arrival of Australia’s first two F-35 Lightning II aircraft, BAE Systems Australia is taking a measured approach to its preparations for supporting the fifth-generation fighter for decades to come. By the time the Royal Australian Air Force’s fleet of 72 aircraft have been delivered in 2023, BAE Systems will have established up to six dedicated F-35 maintenance bays and will be employing about 100 people on the program.


But recognising that it is still early days, the company is prioritising the training of its personnel and working to put in place the required processes and procedures, rather than focusing too heavily on the development of its existing sustainment facility located adjacent to RAAF Base Williamtown. The company is not expecting to carry out deeper or depot-level maintenance on the F-35 until early 2021, says Steve Drury, Director for Aerospace at BAE Systems Australia. However, its people are ready to conduct any such unscheduled work that might arise in the meantime, or to undertake any potential modification activities, and facilities at the RAAF base could be used if necessary. More than $1 billion has already been spent on the project that is providing new and upgraded facilities to support the introduction of the


F-35, largely at Williamtown, which is the RAAF’s main operating base for the Joint Strike Fighter. “Defence is playing this quite smart,” says Drury. “We do not want to have this incredibly large hangar ready to go with nothing in it. “So if we can make sure that we increase our capabilities in lockstep with what the requirements are, and everything is not just in time but well enough in time so that you are not wasting money, that is the way we are going to go.” BAE Systems stated in August 2018 that eight of its technicians drawn from the Hawk 127 Lead-In Fighter Capability Assurance Program were embarking on a 13-week training program with F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. Some of this group, who are going to be leading the depot workforce



back at BAE Systems in New South Wales, will be returning to the US for further training that will prepare them to be able to train others. As the company develops its nascent F-35 sustainment capability, its technicians will be gaining valuable experience over the coming years by working on the aircraft on a day-to-day basis alongside Air Force personnel at the Williamtown base. This exposure to operational maintenance (otherwise known as unit-level maintenance) procedures will enable BAE Systems to “remain ahead of the curve” as it steadily builds up the capacity of its workforce, Drury says. “The important thing we have been doing is making sure that we are setting up all the requirements to actually be the maintainer of these aircraft,” he explains. “All the processes; getting ourselves into the Defence Aviation Safety Regulation, all the permits required for that; the procedures we will need to be using; the structure of the workforce, getting all that planned; all the tooling that is needed; and very importantly the people themselves.”


It was in the lead-up to the Avalon Airshow in 2015 that BAE Systems Australia was named as the F-35 airframe maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) provider for the Southern Pacific. At the time of the assignment by the US Department of Defense (DoD) of this airframe sustainment role to Australia, the capability was envisaged as needing to be up and running by early 2018. But what is known as ‘initial depot capability’ is now expected to be achieved this year (2019). The final depot capability milestone is due to be reached in early 2021, in line with the induction of the first aircraft for a scheduled deeper maintenance event.

The airframe MRO&U depot is the regional capability for the Southern Pacific, and it will have the capability to perform maintenance and upgrades on any F-35 variant. BAE Systems therefore expects that while the majority of its work will initially focus on the Australian fleet, there will be future opportunities to support other countries. According to Drury, an example of this would be if US Marine Corps short take-off/vertical landing F-35B variant aircraft visiting the region are scheduled into the depot at Williamtown for maintenance. Besides the airframes assignment, Australia has also been selected to provide an engine MRO&U capability for the Pacific. Queensland-headquartered company TAE Aerospace is set to maintain the Pratt & Whitney F135 propulsion system that powers the F-35 at a new facility in Bundamba. Construction at the site started in November 2018, and staff training in preparation for work on the F135 is due to begin in July 2019.


While the opportunities to work on airframes from other countries might be relatively limited, F-35 component MRO&U work seems likely to be a more promising hunting ground for Australian industry. The US DoD announced in November 2016 that it had assigned Australia responsibility for the repair of three of the first 65 components, which are known as Tier 1, for all F-35 aircraft around the world from 2021 to 2025. And then from 2025 onwards, Australia has been assigned 64 out of these initial 65 components for repair across the Pacific region. BAE Systems Australia will be working on avionics, digital mission systems and life support components,

and will support partner companies to provide electrical power system and composite repair capabilities. The initial direct cost to the Australian Government of assisting with the establishment of the airframes, engines and Tier 1 components capabilities is likely to amount to more than $300 million, according to a report published by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in December that cited Defence estimates. Following on from the airframe and component repair assignments, in August 2017 it was announced that BAE Systems Australia would provide the F-35 regional warehousing capability for the Asia Pacific. The warehouse, located at Williamtown, will supply parts for Australian aircraft and other F-35 fighters operating in the wider region from October 2020. As of August 2018, Defence has not established a firm estimate of the federal government’s contribution to the cost of the warehousing facility, stated the ANAO report which looked into Australia’s preparations for the introduction into service and sustainment of the F-35. Gabby Costigan, Chief Executive Officer of BAE Systems Australia, highlighted the employment opportunities the company’s sustainment work is anticipated to generate in a statement released at the time of the arrival of the first F-35 fighters to be permanently based in Australia. “We expect that our F-35 sustainment activities at Williamtown will see about 400 jobs created over the next 10 years and a requirement for this level of employment over the 30-plus years of the contract,” she says. “Sustainment activities will also create opportunities for our Australian partners and supply chain.”






As the ADF seeks to integrate its platforms, lessons learned from the operation of the Wedgetail might offer a way forward. By Robert Nutbrown.


here is no doubt the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has introduced an impressive array of new aircraft in recent times. The first P-8A Poseidon maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and response aircraft arrived in Australia towards the end of 2016. The EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack platform made its


debut at the Avalon Airshow in 2017. And now Air Force has its first two F-35 Lightning II aircraft permanently based here in Australia. But in the same way that fielding a team packed with star players would not be enough to guarantee success in the sports world, acquiring a roster of cutting-edge platforms is not in itself going to make the RAAF a fifth-


generation force. The key for any team is to find a way to get the individual elements to function well together to create an effect that is greater than the sum of its constituent parts. As the supplier of the P-8A and the Growler, as well as the E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control platform and the Vigilare air battlespace management system, Boeing has a unique perspective on the integration challenge the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is facing. “You do not really have a fifthgen Air Force or a fifth-gen Defence Force capability until you get all


of those assets integrated,” says Darren Edwards, Vice-President and Managing Director of Boeing Defence Australia. “You cannot just think in terms of flying assets or Air Force standalone assets as part of that integration, so you have got to think about ground stations for space assets; maritime assets. “You need an F-35 to integrate into a frigate as much as it needs to integrate into a Wedgetail or a P-8.”


Besides the introduction of these advanced platforms themselves, Edwards lists a number of other essential ingredients that are the building blocks of fifthgeneration capabilities. Connectivity, achieved by way of tactical data-links, is crucial. But the goal is not necessarily to make each asset capable of transferring all types of information to every other asset. Rather, the ADF needs to determine what it actually requires to be connected to what, and why. Automation is expected to become increasingly prominent in anticipation of a future characterised by highspeed warfare. As a consequence, Boeing has been working on autonomous systems and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities for the ADF, and also with a view to harnessing this technology for potential commercial applications. As part of this research-anddevelopment effort, the company is ensuring that it always takes into consideration the paramount importance of adopting and using AI technology in a safe and controlled manner. Training for personnel across the ADF is also thought of as being fundamental to the establishment of any fifth-generation capability. Edwards highlights the Helicopter

“What we have learned on the E-7 is the ground support segment is at least as important as the thing that is up in the air. When the crew lands, they need to feed what they have learned, real time, back into the synthetic environment so that the next crew are learning real time and putting that into practice.” Aircrew Training System in Nowra, New South Wales, for which Boeing Defence Australia is the prime contractor; the Chinook helicopter maintenance training system at Oakey, Queensland; and the P-8 training facility at RAAF Base Edinburgh as examples. Finally, and perhaps hardest of all according to Edwards, is mustering a sovereign capability that brings together the highly skilled workforce and unique computing tools that are needed to enable Australia to realise truly integrated capabilities. “No one else has got this same suite of assets that the Australian Defence Force has; for example, no one else has the Vigilare to E-7 integration challenge because no other country has Vigilare and few countries have E-7,” Edwards says. “It is not a solution we can buy off the shelf from

another country; it is going to have to be developed here. And so that starts to get into sovereign capability. “Who has the sovereign capability, that is really people; who has the intellectual property and the level of talent here in Australia to develop that bespoke, integrated capability for the Australian Defence Force?” So what does seamless, whole-ofcapability integration look like? What happens on the ground, in terms of data exploitation and so on, receives as much attention as the airborne asset that is flying around collecting the data. And personnel are continually learning as the feedback from operational use of the platform is loaded straight into the training system. “What we have learned on the E-7 is the ground support segment is at least as important as the thing that is up in



the air,” Edwards observes. “When the crew lands, they need to feed what they have learned, real time, from that mission back into the synthetic environment so that the next crew are learning lessons real time and putting that into practice. “That kind of agile development is equally applicable to the warfighters as it is to software development.” P-8 crews are anticipated to be working in a similar way once the maritime patrol capability matures. The RAAF will eventually operate a 15-strong fleet of P-8 aircraft (assuming that the option for an additional three is exercised) based at Edinburgh in South Australia for a range of missions, including antisubmarine warfare (ASW); intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); and search and rescue (SAR). Equipped with advanced sensors and mission systems, the P-8 is a derivative of the Boeing 737-800.


Air Force operates a fleet of six Wedgetail aircraft that are based at RAAF Base Williamtown in NSW. The platform is based on the Boeing 737-700 but with the addition of a multirole electronically scanned array radar system and mission consoles for the crew. As part of Operation OKRA, the ADF deploys a Wedgetail and a KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft on a rotational basis. When deployed, the Wedgetail is tasked with controlling coalition aircraft movements over Iraq and Syria. Boeing Defence Australia has signed an agreement intended to streamline the contractual arrangements underpinning its support for the E-7, the Australian Government announced in September 2018. Known as the Wedgetail Head Agreement Deed, this new framework involves the consolidation of

the existing In-Service Support sustainment contract and the AIR5077 Phase 5A project. As the platform’s first major upgrade program, Phase 5A is providing interoperability compliance upgrades for the aircraft and associated support systems. Meanwhile, the future Phase 6 project is at the early scoping stage, with discussions to be had about what should be included in this upgrade package. “A lot of it is going to be offplatform,” says Edwards. “As we do fairly sophisticated modelling and simulation on the capability and how it would be used under different scenarios, we are realising where the potential challenges would be for that platform in a next-generation fight. “Phase 6 is really about addressing, well in advance, those challenges to continue to make the Australian E-7 Wedgetail the best airborne early warning and command-and-control platform in the sky.” Australia has announced plans to integrate the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system into the Wedgetail and other ADF capabilities. CEC is a ‘sensor netting’ system that combines radar data from ships, aircraft and ground-based assets into a single integrated picture.


The need for the ADF’s platforms to work well as a team across the domains of warfare has become abundantly clear. For instance, Edwards emphasises that there is little to be gained by reflecting on the Growler electronic attack aircraft in isolation. This platform is part of a broader electronic warfare (EW) capability package that includes not only the F-35 and the Wedgetail but frigates as well, he says. And now industry is being called on

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"Defence must not forget the importance of focusing on fostering the sovereign capability that will ultimately enable the delivery of AIR6500." to adopt a similar approach to help the ADF tackle its integration challenge. Edwards envisages Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon joining forces with Boeing to deliver the future AIR6500 joint battle management system. While the Vigilare air surveillance system could provide Australia with a starting point for building up the ADF’s integrated air and missile defence capability, Boeing certainly does not claim to have all the answers. “We should definitely evolve Vigilare to get us a head-start,” says Edwards. “The alternative to evolving Vigilare is to go back and effectively redo what it has taken us 10 years or so to do, to develop Vigilare to where it is now. That makes no sense at all; we should evolve what we have got. “But we then need to integrate a whole bunch of different industry capabilities, and there is no one

predominant player in this space.” The problem this sort of collaboration creates is that it is not clear which organisation should be chosen as the integrator and what the most suitable contractual framework would be, Edwards notes. And it remains to be seen how competitive tension could be ensured if competitors were to start working together. Be that as it may, Defence must not forget the importance of focusing on fostering the sovereign capability that will ultimately enable the delivery of AIR6500. “Who is it that has enough presence here in Australia; enough critical mass, enough demonstrated capability and integration [experience] to be able to do this in country?” Edwards asks rhetorically. “It is not a package we can buy from the US, for example; it is going to have to be developed here.”

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MARITIME SURVEILLANCE: TRITON UAS ACQUISITION Northrop Grumman highlights its role for Australian industry in the MQ-4C remotely piloted aircraft program. By Robert Nutbrown.


sked to work in close coordination with the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) promises to be a formidable addition to the Royal Australian Air Force’s maritime surveillance capability. Designed and built by Northrop Grumman, the remotely piloted aircraft is intended to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) coverage of vast areas of ocean over long periods of time. Based on the RQ-4 Global Hawk, the MQ-4C features a reinforced airframe


and wing; it has an operational range of 8,200 nautical miles and is capable of staying aloft for more than 24 hours at a time. “Northrop Grumman is a major provider of systems and subsystems on [Australian Defence Force] assets that will evolve to form the basis of the fifth-generation RAAF, including the Wedgetail [airborne early warning and control] aircraft, the F-35, the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and the P-8 Poseidon, to name just a few,” says Warren King, interim Chief Executive, Northrop Grumman Australia. “Triton, with its combination of advanced sensors, communication suites, range and endurance, will give Australia an unprecedented ability to watch over its territorial interests.” The federal government announced in June 2018 that Australia plans to initially spend $1.4 billion on this new capability and would acquire the first of an eventual six Triton aircraft (one fewer than the seven aircraft that had been foreshadowed in the 2016


Defence White Paper). Australia is entering into a cooperative program with the US Navy that is valued at $200 million for the development, production and sustainment of the UAS. And $364 million is going towards the construction of new facilities located at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia (the Triton’s home base) and RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory, as well as for ground control systems, support and training, the Australian Government stated. Tindal, from where many Triton missions are expected to be launched, is in line to receive about $110 million in funding, with new hangars and administration and support facilities to be built there. The first of the RAAF’s new Triton aircraft is due to enter service in mid2023, with the fleet of six anticipated to be in operation by late 2025. “Northrop Grumman is proud to partner with the US Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force to provide an



unrivalled high-altitude long-endurance ISR capability to meet Australia’s national and economic security needs,” says King. “Triton also enables Australia to better support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, search and rescue, and environmental resource monitoring. “Since [the Second Pass approval announcement in] June, we have been focused on program execution, along with continuing to drive deeper industry partnerships with key Australian suppliers and partners.” As part of the program, Northrop Grumman has pledged to promote Australian industry involvement in the design of autonomous systems. “The Triton program has a structured approach to Australian Industry Capability to maximise the economic benefit to Australia,” says King. “The Triton program will leverage Northrop Grumman’s decades of experience on other Australian programs that focus on sustainment, the Global Supply Chain [program], knowledge and skills transfer, and science, technology, engineering and mathematicsrelated partnerships with schools and universities. “We are determined to lead the development of economic benefit to Australia and the Triton program, and place Australia’s industry at the forefront of global autonomous systems and integrated ISR development.” The program suffered a significant setback in September 2018 when a Triton aircraft was damaged in a mishap at Naval Base Ventura County in California, prompting the US Navy to pause MQ-4C operations pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident that saw the aircraft make a belly landing. However, Triton returned to flight in December 2018, a spokesperson for Northrop Grumman confirms.

Along with the P-8A (AIR7000 Phase 2B), the Triton is replacing the RAAF’s AP-3C Orion maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft under the AIR7000 Phase 1B project. And in another announcement that moves the RAAF closer to achieving its goal of employing unmanned systems to a greater extent, the government stated in November 2018 that Australia intends to acquire a dozen or more General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper armed mediumaltitude long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft.


When asked about the ways in which Northrop Grumman is supporting the RAAF’s effort to become a fifthgeneration air force, King highlights, among other things, a demonstration in Australia in March 2016 of the company’s Airborne Gateway technology, which can facilitate airland integration. “Northrop Grumman supported an early Plan Jericho trial that proved how smart software and hardware can make defence assets that were never designed to talk with each other do so,” he says. “Smart software in our Airborne Gateway system enables communication between disparate platforms and systems, even when there is a break in the communications link.” The US Air Force operates Northrop Grumman EQ-4B Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft and Bombardier E-11A jets equipped with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) payload. “[BACN] is used by the US military in theatre to enable connectivity in challenging environments,” King continues. “We continue to upgrade and advance this capability as communications systems evolve.

“Digital transformation is increasing the capabilities of the force; improving agility, affordability and, ultimately, mission outcomes. And that is illustrative of a future fifth-generation air force.”


Besides the Triton program, another key focus of Northrop Grumman’s activities in Australia is integrated air and missile defence. “AIR6500 is an ambitious initiative with few global parallels,” King observes. “The joint battle management system will bring together fifthgeneration platforms, advanced sensors and effectors across multiple domains, and will be the keystone for vital net-centric decision-making. We believe that for AIR6500 it is critically important to get the architecture right. “Northrop Grumman is a proven global leader in complex system-of-systems integration and advanced C4ISR [command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities] that deliver a decisive advantage.” King goes on to say that when it comes to establishing the systems architecture for AIR6500, Australia must strive to avoid getting stuck in a vendor lock-in so that new technology can be incorporated as easily as possible. “We want to be a partner with the ADF and Australian industry for AIR6500, and successfully field a flexible and scalable capability that does not vendor-lock Australia into a specific point solution,” he says. “Our open, multi-domain system-ofsystems architecture is joint by design and delivers interoperability, true integration and affordability. “Our solution optimises existing assets, including today’s fifthgeneration weapon systems, and adopts future capabilities as they come online at the speed of need.”




By Kate O’Mara


he arrival of the F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in the Hunter region is momentous. It is the most advanced fighter jet on the planet and creates opportunities the likes of which we have never seen. It brings an economy of its own and will create new and exciting jobs, jobs that will employ our children’s children – smart, high value jobs. The Hunter is immensely proud to be its home and we have been preparing for its arrival for many years. In 2015, global defence prime contractor BAE Systems was selected as the Southern Pacific regional Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul & Upgrade (MRO&U) provider and has since also been awarded assignments for Air Vehicle component repair

and Regional Warehousing. BAE Systems plans to deliver the majority of these sustainment services from its Williamtown, NSW facility adjacent to the RAAF base. The company’s F-35 Program Manager, Andrew Chapman says, “We have invested more than $15 million to establish an F-35-specific component manufacturing facility and we’ll work alongside the Royal Australian Air Force to provide the most effective sustainment services available – ensuring the F-35 is prepared and ready to be deployed anytime, anywhere. “We expect that our F-35 sustainment activities at Williamtown will see about 400 jobs created over the next 10 years and a requirement for this level of employment over the 30-plus years of the contract, so guaranteeing a stream of skilled people to deliver the project has been a key consideration for us. We’ve

been actively working in partnership with RDA Hunter since 2010 to cultivate a pool of future employees,” Chapman continues. So, what have we been doing to ensure that enough young people study STEM subjects and are ready for the jobs that BAE Systems needs to fill? The Hunter region, via Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter is one of only three locations in the country to receive funding from the Department of Defence to implement a Schools Pathway Program (SPP). Known in the Hunter as the ME Program, the SPP fosters partnerships between schools and defence industry to encourage students to study STEM and pursue careers in the ‘workforce behind the defence force’. In collaboration with partners like BAE Systems, we implement the STEM-Ex work placement program, Defence & Aerospace Careers Days, the STEM Defence + Innovation Program and iSTEM, among other activities, to teach students the technical and enterprise skills they need for long-term defence industry careers. But, without a jet to look at, touch and experience, how do we make it real? How do we excite high school students and help them understand the significant opportunities available in the defence industry? Virtual reality technology is helping. VR has given BAE Systems a glimpse of its new reality and the company is sharing the experience with Hunter students. Visiting BAE Systems’ Williamtown facility on behalf of the ME Program recently, I met the company’s VR team. The team was hosting Year 10 Newcastle

Grammar School student Nicholas White as part of ME’s STEM-Ex work experience program. As an introduction to the VR technology Nicholas was experiencing, I donned the goggles and found myself first in the Mount BakerSnoqualmie National Forest and then in BAE Systems’ maintenance hangar – teleporting between maintenance bays, and in and out of the Hawk’s pilot seat and F-35 cockpit. Immersed in the virtual Washington State forest, I understood the veracity of VR technology when to my surprise (and annoyance), I couldn’t make myself step off a computer-simulated cliff ledge atop a computer simulation of Vesper Peak. On the mountain, throwing a stick to a cute but curious-looking virtual dog who promptly brought it back to me, I conceived of the applications of VR in industrial situations – its capacity to engender meaningful planning, risk mitigation and cost savings. And, I understood the value of re-creating the maintenance hangar. BAE Systems and RDA Hunter have partnered since the beginning of the SPP in 2010. I have visited the hangar many times in that time but, not once had I considered the logistics of its layout; how the new F-35, that is much larger than the Hawk currently maintained by BAE, will fit in the same space; or how each maintenance bay will need to be reconfigured for workability and efficiency. Gavin Lewis, BAE Systems’ Engineering Manager, explains: “In planning for the arrival of the F-35, spatial issues are critical. The new aircraft’s physical dimensions demand that the hangar’s layout changes, and so too the protocols we follow. “Testing a proposed new design through virtual reality technology allows us to ‘try before we buy’, if you like. It gives us the power to understand actual hangar-floor scenarios before we make decisions that affect technical and human aspects of our business.

“It means we can construct situations, identify potential problems and mitigate safety risks. It gives us freedom to be adaptable and agile and, importantly for BAE Systems, it ensures we’re not spending money on untested solutions,” Lewis continues. According to BAE Systems’ VR Team Lead, Andrew McLean, commercially available web-based virtual reality programs give the company reliable and usable information upon which to base serious decisions. “Using technology to streamline processes is smart. Our VR is an ‘off-the-shelf’ system but we team it with VR specific modelling programs. This enables us to replicate our environment accurately enough to determine optimal operational procedures. “The commercial use of VR is still in its infancy – we’ve been using it here at Williamtown for two years – but given the value it’s adding to our processes and its scope to impact other areas of our business, we’ll become increasingly reliant on it.” BAE Systems’ VR utilisation is growing and, in the future, its capacity to expedite maintenance-staff training and protect the currency of skills means it will become more mainstream. The company is expanding its in-house skills base to meet the emerging demand. It has specialised VR expertise in different parts of Australia dependent on the requirements of its projects, with knowledge shared across the country and, indeed, its global sites. Nicholas, who is studying RDA Hunter’s state-of-the-art high school subject, iSTEM, joined BAE Systems to experience what life is like ‘on the job’. Nicholas was there to discover the breadth of roles available at BAE Systems, the opportunities for career progression and to see first-hand whether VR was for him. “I was so lucky to be able to do work experience at BAE. It gave me the chance to try a few options and see how

they use VR. It’s a really exciting industry and to be able to have a long-term defence career in Newcastle is pretty awesome,” Nicholas says. During his iSTEM study at ME Program partner school, Newcastle Grammar School, Nicholas was introduced to the idea of tackling science, maths, engineering and technology problems in an integrated way – as happens in workplaces like BAE Systems. iSTEM was developed by RDA Hunter for exactly that purpose: to help students prepare for the realities of work – in this case, sustaining the most high-tech military aircraft the world has ever seen. Developed in support of iSTEM, STEM-Ex was established as part of RDA Hunter’s STEM Workforce development initiatives to direct students who show the right combination of skills into Hunter industries that need them. It exposes students who have an interest in developing their technical skills, in Nicholas’ case VR, to Hunter industries that are urgently looking for people with the enthusiasm and aptitude for defence industry jobs. “RDA Hunter’s STEM Workforce initiatives have achieved success over many years because they are legitimately industry-led and produce school graduates that are job-ready. We follow industry’s advice and tailor experiences, activities and curriculum that shape the workforce of the future – our VR work experience program is a prime, futurefocused example,” says RDA Hunter’s Director of Regional Development and Executive Officer, Trevor John. “BAE Systems Australia is a founding ME Program partner and we are very proud to be playing a role in supporting our partner company sustain the most technically advanced fighter jet on the planet,” he says.

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NEW DIMENSIONS FOR A DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY Rapid developments in autonomous systems, AI and remote control are transforming military technology. Lachlan Colquhoun reports.

ustralia has created the $50 million Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence CoOperative Research Centre (CRC) based in Brisbane to research and deliver game-changing autonomous technologies to Defence, developing effective co-operation between humans and machines. Trusted autonomous technologies have the potential to transform military tactics and the way in which warfare is conducted.



“Anything which is not stealthy is likely to be tracked at range and targeted, and if we don’t want to put our sons and daughters into harm’s way it brings up questions as to what is possible with machines, AI and with autonomy.” While fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist, it is expected that their deployment will become widespread over the next decades. More than 350 partly autonomous weapon and military robotic systems have been deployed or are under development in around a dozen nations, including China, France, Israel, the UK and the US. These platforms are not only offensive in their ability to deliver warheads, but can also be defensive in areas such as mine detection and threat neutralisation, where autonomous systems can be deployed to keep human personnel out of potential danger zones. They are also different to air and land-based drones, which are ultimately remotely controlled by humans.


Research group the International Data Corporation estimates that spending on robotics will double from US$91 billion in 2016 to US$188 billion by 2020, making full autonomy achievable.


In Australia, the Defence response has been to create the Brisbanebased CRC, which was formally launched in 2018 and will begin its activities in 2019. The CRC model is a collaboration between government and industry, and inaugural founding members include BAE Systems, DefenceTex, RMIT University and Defence Science and Technology. The CRC’s initial focus will be on three research programs in the maritime, air and land domains, led


respectively by Thales Australia, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems. For a relatively small defence force such as Australia’s, autonomous technologies can scale up the sovereign capability to enhance military effectiveness. Professor Jason Scholz has moved from DST to become the Chief Scientist and Engineer at the new CRC, and brings to the role more than three decades of experience in “decision making systems which bring the human and machine together”. “The whole idea of integrating the two is about putting the strengths of one against the weaknesses of the other, and in this way they are often very complimentary,” Scholz says. “What we are trying to do at the CRC is to seed and kickstart some game-changing technologies and raise the ambition in our industry and change the way we fight and protect ourselves.” Professor Scholz sees two main advantages in autonomous weapons: they are able to provide an immediate response in some applications, while



they are also able to minimise or even eliminate the risk of harm to humans, both to soldiers and also civilians. He gives several examples. Naval countermeasures against mines currently require the deployment of divers and vessels or vehicles of special design. “We are still putting them into these environment and into harm’s way and this can be avoided with trusted autonomous systems,” says Professor Scholz. “In many situations if you put a manned platform in a situation the personnel will be at risk. “Anything which is not stealthy is likely to be tracked at range and targeted, and if we don’t want to put our sons and daughters into harm’s way it brings up questions as to what is possible with machines, AI and with autonomy.”


Such systems are already being developed and were showcased at the Autonomous Warrior 2018 exercise at Jervis Bay in November 2018, which involved around 450 personnel from Australia, the UK, US, New Zealand and Canada. There, Northrop Grumman demonstrated its AQS-24B mine hunting system with undersea surveillance capability, which although not fully autonomous, uses an unmanned surface vessel with a mine hunting sensor which not only reduces clearance times but eliminates risk to humans. Future applications of autonomous systems could be where weapons are programmed to respond according to sensing. A surface to air missile, for example, could autonomously detect passenger aircraft in flight and be programmed not to engage. “There is the idea of an ‘ethical weapon’,” says Professor Scholz. “A lot of people say we should not use artificial intelligence in a weapon but there is a strong humanitarian counter

argument which says there are things we could do with AI which could detect a Red Cross or a Red Crescent and divert a weapon away, and perhaps ironically this could help to make warfare safer.” The new CRC is also involved with the international debate about the use of autonomy and AI in warfare, contributing to the work of the Group of Governmental Experts which is meeting under the auspices of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. While some experts support a ban, the group failed to reach agreement in 2018 and have adjourned the debate to 2019. At the time, the previous Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said it was too early in their development to make a definitive decision on the ethics of autonomy and AI for military use. In the meantime, work on autonomous weapons is proceeding in Australia and it forms part of the Defence Industrial Capability Plan published in April 2018, where autonomy is identified as one of Australia’s “Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities”.

In Adelaide, the University of Adelaide announced in October 2018 that it would partner with US military giant Lockheed Martin to create a new Institute of Machine Learning. Lockheed Martin will move its team of researchers from the Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership and Research Laboratory (STELaR Lab) in Melbourne to collaborate in Adelaide at what is the company’s first multi-disciplinary R&D facility outside of the US. Other initiatives in this field include a $3 million contract to NSW company Ocius, to developed an aquatic robot for surveillance and data collection. Dubbed ‘Bruce’, the aquatic robot could significantly alter the roles performed by Naval personnel. Australian technology is also being recognised by the US Naval Undersea Warfare Centre which is funding ASX listed underwater drone specialist Aquabotix, a company that is developing “SwarmDiver” miniature submarine drones which can support unexplored ordnance detection missions.







he General Atomics Reaper is one of the most potent and recognisable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) yet developed. The Reaper is a next-generation development on the earlier Predator, and Australia is likely to purchase at least a dozen of these UAVs over the coming decades. CAS OUTLOOK got an update on the Reaper from Warren Ludwig, the director of international strategic development for Australia and Southeast Asia at General Atomics. How are the capabilities of the Reaper different from or an improvement on the earlier Predator models? General Atomics’ latest generation Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), designated the ‘SkyGuardian’ or ‘MQ-9B’, offers significant improvements over the earlier versions. The new aircraft, with the UK Royal Air Force as the launch customer, provides key advantages including: a certifiable engineering


design; Detect and Avoid (DAA) system; extended range (6,000 nmi), endurance (capable of flying over 40 consecutive hours) and payload (4,800 lb); all-weather performance and ruggedisation, and a 40,000-hour design life. The certifiable design and DAA systems will allow the aircraft to operate seamlessly in non-segregated airspace. For Project AIR7003, Defence will consider both the MQ-9B SkyGuardian and the earlier MQ-9A, which is now in operation with the USAF. A decision on the variant is expected in the second half of 2019.       What are the potential roles the Reaper can perform? In Australian service, the Reaper will primarily provide support to Land Forces in Land and Littoral environments and include the roles of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Communications Networking and Firepower Support. As such, it will watch and protect


Australian Land Forces. However, this RPAS is expected to perform other roles including humanitarian support and disaster relief missions, and offer the potential to support maritime and amphibious roles, and with border protection activities. A dedicated maritime variant of the MQ-9B called the SeaGuardian possesses a longrange maritime radar and Automatic Identification System (AIS) to support such missions.     What is the level of support GA will provide under the contract? Defence is finalising its operating concepts and detailed requirements for Project AIR7003. Accordingly, the scope of the contract with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) remains undefined. However, GA-ASI will act as the Prime Contractor, provide initial support where not provided by Australian industry, and act as the system Original Equipment Manufacturer for through-life deeper support.       Will you work with local industry/ defence on sustainment? GA-ASI has established a team of 10 world-class Australian Industry partners called ‘Team Reaper Australia’ to provide manufacturing and through-life support for Project AIR7003. The team currently consists of Cobham (prime partner), CAE, Raytheon, TAE Aerospace, Collins Aerospace, Quickstep, Ultra, Airspeed, SentientVision and Flight Data Systems.     When will they be delivered and will that happen over a time period for all the UAVs in the contract? The schedule for delivery of this capability has not been defined; however, two tranches of six-to-eight aircraft and associated systems are planned. The first tranche in the early 2020s; the latter in the late 2020s.

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SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE INDUSTRY AND SUPPORT The Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence Industry and Support, and Member for Eden-Monaro, shares his views on Labor’s defence policy for the future.


he principle that underpins Labor’s approach to Defence Industry Policy above all else is to ensure the men and women of the Australian Defence Force have the best capability the nation can provide them with for their survival and success. In pursuit of that objective, we are committed to investing in as much national industrial capacity as possible, including in critical intellectual property, design and the ability to adapt and evolve platforms. Through Defence investment, Labor seeks to maximise the general benefit to the Australian economy by spreading the technology that is evolving at an ever-accelerating pace while also promoting the sustainability of the Australian defence industry by facilitating the participation in global supply chains. The imperatives for sovereign industrial capability are obvious from the perspective of operational outcomes – being able to maintain and support platforms are much easier if you have the local capacity. It is also vital in operational circumstances that the ADF can adapt assets quickly and effectively drawing on current battlefield data.


An excellent example of this was our involvement in Afghanistan with the Digger Works process where we were able to take the lessons from the most recent fighting season and make adaptations such as those done to the Bushmaster that not only helped to save lives but also minimise injuries. Labor has always understood the sovereign imperative and embraced it. It began with the critical work done by Prime Minister Andrew Fisher and Defence Minister George Pearce in the early years of Federation and WWI, which placed the country in excellent shape to mobilise, sustain and contribute to the allied effort in that war. It was the Curtin Government in WWII that revolutionised our industrial capacity to build ships and planes from a standing start. By the end of the war in four years we went from not being a shipbuilding nation to producing three Tribal Class destroyers, 14 frigates, 60 corvettes and 30,000 small craft, as well as building our major graving docks enabling us to repair major allied capital ships and merchant vessels. We went from not making planes to turning out close to 4,000 aircraft.


We built artillery, armoured vehicles and small arms as well as innovating in areas such as tropicalproofing equipment and radar. We even produced a single cast tank and grew our machine tool capacity exponentially. All this resulted in a strategic spread of our industrial base across the nation to ensure less vulnerability, which was converted after the war to other commercial uses. Labor under the Hawke Keating Governments brought home the last two Perry Class frigates to be built here and rolled that into the Anzac Class project, while also developing the Collins Class submarines, which became arguably the best conventionally powered subs in the world. When Labor returned to government in 2007, we discovered that there had been no adequate investment in sustainment and maintenance so that we could barely get one submarine in the water and our supply vessels were unable to be called on when needed for disaster response. The previous Labor Government invested hundreds of millions of dollars to remediate the situation and also spent over a billion dollars in addressing skills shortfalls. Many projects were in serious difficulty, and our creation of the Projects of Concern Process took 21 of these and reduced them to 6 by the 2013 election. Under the SADI program, we met the needs of industry in generating the skilled workforce they were crying out for, including upwards of 3,000 apprentices but also higher tertiary



"The imperatives for sovereign industrial capability are obvious from the perspective of operational outcomes – being able to maintain and support platforms are much easier if you have the local capacity."





level skills. The current government abandoned the SADI program and has not adequately replaced it. Looking forward, there are fundamental dynamics that will drive our capability and industrial needs in the years ahead: dominating the electromagnetic spectrum; developments in hypersonics and quantum computing; artificial intelligence (AI) and automated systems; platforms that are networked from satellite to soldier and every asset in between; and networks that are secured and enable interoperability with key allies. On top of this are challenges like cyber threats that can bring the risk of defeat or leverage without firing a shot, which must be countered,


including securing the participation of Australian SME in Defence projects so that they are not a vulnerable back door for industrial and other forms of espionage. The increasing use of encryption, cyber information operations and financial activities by terrorists and their supporting governments and institutions presents another challenge to our security agencies that require ever greater levels of international and local law enforcement cooperation applying skills focused on the ability to write and interrogate algorithms. Opportunities for our industries will come from being on the cutting edge of additive manufacturing and composite technology. Our energy security must also be a matter of


urgent attention with a much higher focus on developing an alternative fuel strategy. Our forces will need to be flexible and agile to deal with the full spectrum of human-centric operations such as responding to ever more catastrophic weather events, counterinsurgency, transnational terrorism and stabilisation operations and conventional operations that must be ever more precise and judicious in the use of kinetic options. We have seen how Israel has taken similar dynamics and used these to drive its startup and innovation economy. The same should be happening in Australia. The problem we have had has been our history of digging things up, selling them overseas and then buying back the value-add. There has been precious little investment in R&D and an anaemic venture capital industry. Our best and brightest have often had to forge trails overseas. That is why it is so important to see Labor’s policy focus on investing in knowledge infrastructure, promoting STEM and coding as well as a better understanding of cognitive development as having multiple benefits. Under the current coalition government, there have been problems maintaining a skilled workforce because of oscillation in policy – from turning their back on the domestic defence industry, and local shipbuilding in particular, under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, to now embracing the concept of our industry as part of a Fully Integrated Capability (FIC) concept. The previous Labor Government produced a Future Submarine Industry



and Skills Plan in March 2013 that laid down a clear path to a sustainable and efficient shipbuilding industry. This included deciding to build our replacement supply vessels in Australia, which would have effectively avoided the so-called “Valley of Death� in preventing jobs, skills and productivity losses. Local build decisions on frigates and submarines offer an opportunity to get back on track, but to date, we have not seen a credible skills plan to underpin this from the Coalition Government. One of the critical challenges for the next government, be it Labor or Coalition, will be dealing with the implications of the timelines for the frigate and submarine projects. This will put a premium on achieving acceptable service life extensions for existing platforms. In Government, Labor made great strides in this direction through the analysis of options and in implementing processes for deep cycle and system upgrades that significantly enhanced our skills levels. The problem that we will have with the future submarine program is that it will be landing at a time of significant advances in detection technology and automation. It will be critical that Australia is deeply embedded in these developments so that adaptive decisions can be made to manage transition risks and cost. There still also remains a range of significant issues in managing the involvement of Australian SME in projects and their relationship with Primes and Defence. There were unintentional consequences of the First Principles Review that need correcting if we are to make Australian involvement real. The disharmony in the way we approach Defence

procurement from a national perspective also needs attention. Contemporary procurement projects offer a range of participation opportunities that will be available to companies across the nation. We have seen this with the JSF, but it will also be apparent in the LAND400 project. Labor will focus on improving national coordination on Defence procurement,

capability gap as the future frigates and subs programs roll out. The future for Australian companies in the defence industry lies in being able to win participation in global supply chains and defence exports. There are real opportunities to carve out a reputation for quality and excellence in components and systems that are either directly applicable to a

"One of the critical challenges for the next government, be it Labor or Coalition, will be dealing with the implications of the timelines for the frigate and submarine projects. This will put a premium on achieving acceptable service life extensions for existing platforms." sustainment, maintenance, support, skills and the Defence estate. We will also look to provide useful and practical assistance to Australian SME in developing their capacity to participate in Defence projects and their relationship with the Primes a nd Defence. As well as the effect of our knowledge and innovation policy, Labor’s focus on resuscitating the TAFE sector and properly supporting our universities will be a crucial part of delivering the workforce of the future. We need some creative thinking around how we share the skills with private industry that will be at such a premium across the economy, particularly given the increasing shift to automated systems. Companies should also understand that often two-thirds of the spend opportunity on Defence projects comes in ongoing sustainment and maintenance. In this respect, facilities such as Henderson in WA will have a significant and increasing role as the OPV, frigate and submarine projects evolve, but also in ensuring there is no

shared international platform or having the design and productive capacity to adapt to a related product or system. There is a definite role for government in facilitating this participation and Labor when last in government developed programs that we would seek to build on if re-elected. These included the Australian Military Sales Office, the Defence Export Unit and the Global Supply Chain Program. Through this combination of activities, Australian companies were able to win contracts worth over a billion dollars. These programs have mostly continued under the current government with some rebadging, but Labor believes it is time to get more creative, proactive and ambitious with this effort. Labor, if elected to government, would endeavour to make Defence policy as bipartisan as possible across the board, driven by our key objectives of supporting and protecting our people, enabling the effectiveness and survivability of the ADF and the promotion of our defence industry. That commitment is ironclad.






o create a sovereign defence capability requires strong collaboration between the commonwealth, the state and territory governments and industry, all the way down to startups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). For the states and territories, participating in defence industry is an opportunity to develop their industrial base and economy, and play to their natural strengths. Here is a state by state roundup of defence industry initiatives.


New South Wales is currently home to more than a quarter of Australia’s Defence personnel and more major Defence bases and training areas than any other state. The NSW Defence Advocate, Air Marshal (Retd) John Harvey AM, says the NSW Government fully supports the existing Defence presence in New South Wales, including the strategic importance


of Fleet Base East/Garden Island as an operational base for the Royal Australian Navy. “NSW has a diverse and valuable defence industry and research base to support Defence’s needs,” Air Marshall Harvey says. “Major clusters of sustainment activity exist, with small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and primes co-located with significant Defence facilities and other related commercial enterprises.” Fleet Base East (FBE) in Sydney is one of the largest of several ‘hubs’ or ‘clusters’ of defence activity, and is also central to the presence of other naval bases in the wider Sydney metro region. Given the strong historic Navy presence, defence companies in NSW have been able to consistently secure sizeable maritime sustainment and upgrade contracts. As the homeport for Navy’s major fleet units on the east coast, FBE (which includes the Captain Cook Graving Dock) is ideally placed to undertake complex maintenance and upgrades


on the new generation of warships. For example, a recent $1.5 billion contract to provide sustainment for the Navy’s LHDs and their landing craft will support more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in Sydney. There is also a significant sustainment hub in the Shoalhaven focused on Defence rotary wing activity at Nowra. The Hunter is a major hub of activity in support of several RAAF aircraft types, most notably the F35. Greater Sydney is a vast industry hub, including companies such as multinational Safran Electronics & Defence, and Australia/US company Thomas Global Systems. These companies have announced a strategic alliance to manufacture and support high-end defence and related technologies in Australia. This partnership will enable Safran sighting systems with applications in land and maritime platforms to be manufactured and sustained in Sydney, the only location outside of France. 




Victoria is a world leader in defence technology, innovation and manufacturing and the state’s defence industry is regularly showcased at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon. Victoria’s defence industry is making a significant contribution to the precision manufacturing of the world-renowned Joint Strike Fighter, which made its Australian debut at the 2017 Airshow, with local companies delivering 65% by value of the contracts awarded to Australia for the project. Victorian Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula says that to support this growing industry, the state government recently launched a campaign to profile the skills and capabilities of Victoria’s defence industry to help secure more supply chain opportunities for Victorian businesses. With more than 770 businesses and organisations employing around 18,500 people, the defence sector contributes around $8 billion to the state’s economy each year. “We’re proud to be home of some of the biggest names in defence, including Lockheed Martin, Thales, Boeing and BAE Systems,” Pakula says. “Victoria’s defence excellence and strong capabilities put us in an unrivalled position to support a number of key defence projects – be they aerospace, land, maritime, cyber and other joint systems.” Victoria will also be the home of Australian Defence Force basic pilot training from 2019, with leading defence prime contractor Lockheed Martin delivering on a seven-year $1.2 billion contract to supply the Australian Defence Force with a defence pilot training system at RAAF Base East Sale.


South Australia has a long history of supporting defence capabilities, from the provision of world-class

facilities through to specific platform support across aviation, maritime and land systems. “Defence SA is working in conjunction with the Defence Teaming Centre and is able to inform and influence the creation of sustainment capabilities to support Australia Defence Force assets across all sectors,” says Richard Price, the Chief Executive of Defence SA. “Most of the key primes have offices in South Australia, and we have over 300 companies that have registered their interest in working within the defence supply chain.” The recent retirement of the P3 Orions operated by the RAAF has opened the way for the sustainment of the P-8A Poseidon and Triton Aircraft, which are operated from RAAF Base Edinburgh. While sustainment opportunities will not arise until after five years within service, Boeing and Northrop Grumman have been building their workforce in South Australia. The Australian Government has committed to acquiring six MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicles, which will operate from RAAF Base Edinburgh from 2020. South Australia will be home to the Tritons’ ground control station, which controls their flight and operations, and processes, evaluates and disseminates the surveillance data collected. The Tritons will not only provide South Australian industry with sustainment opportunities, but also foster a centre of excellence in unmanned aerial systems technology, bringing together world-leading companies, universities and defence organisations focused on maximising the new capability. AIR7003 will provide the RAAF with REAPER Armed UAS with involvement from South Australian companies Cobham Aviation, TAE Aerospace, Airspeed and CAE. The Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) is a multi-billion-dollar investment in three over-the-horizon radar systems that use the ionosphere to

monitor air and sea movements across at least 37,000 square kilometres. Over the next 10 years, BAE Systems will undertake significant upgrades to the JORN, with the $1.2 billion enhancement set to peak at more than 500 highly technical jobs, many of them in South Australia. Another key part of SA’s defence industry is around the sustainment of the Collins Class submarine fleet, which is now in its Life of Type Extension phase to ensure service into the early 2030s. The Air Warfare Destroyers, which were constructed in SA, have also been delivered into operational service and the sustainment contracts are being put in place together with the amphibious ship and frigate programs. The total fleet of Armoured Vehicles are currently undergoing sustainment activities through the LAND907 contract which includes the 51 x M1 Abrams, 430 x M113, 257 x ASLAV-25 vehicles. Sustainment activities around the fleet of Utility, Reconnaissance and Support Vehicles is also taking place in South Australia for the two battalions based at RAAF Base Edinburgh, as well as those undertaking exercises at the Cultana range.  Vehicles delivered as part of LAND121 are already being sustained by South Australia-based businesses, such as Penske and Wakefield Trucks.


A total of 27% of Australia’s Defence Force personnel are based in Queensland. This includes more than 40% of the Army – representing 70% of its fighting force including the largest amphibious capability and two of the three combined arms brigades: Townsville’s 3rd Brigade and Brisbane’s 7th Brigade. Queensland has the largest proportion of end users for the ADF’s vehicle fleet. In support, Queensland has a robust heavy vehicle maintenance, repair and overhaul sector, and is Australia’s leading Continued Page 46 >>




ictoria’s defence sector is an important part of the state’s economy, contributing billions of dollars annually. It employs around 18,500 people and has more than 770 businesses which manufacture equipment and provide services for defence activities. Our innovative aerospace design and manufacturing capabilities make a significant contribution to Australia’s aerospace industry. Victoria has more than 250 aerospace companies supplying the Australian and global aerospace industry. Victorian companies have 65 per cent by value of the contracts with Australian companies over the past decade for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project, the most of any state. The JSF project will supply 72 planes to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) including associated facilities, weapons and training. The project is capitalising on Victoria’s extensive experience in meeting military aerospace requirements. Thales Australia, through the

OneSKY Program, will deliver an integrated Civil and Military Air Traffic Management System from its globally leading Air Traffic Management Centre of Excellence in Melbourne. Companies based in Victoria are also involved in the Australian Defence Force basic pilot training

THE HON MARTIN PAKULA MP Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade

program commencing in East Sale in 2019, providing airframe design, aerial vehicles, airspace controls systems, as well as participating in international supply chains. The Andrews Labor Government’s vision is for an innovative, globally competitive, highly skilled and adaptive defence industry that maintains its position at the leading edge of providers serving the Australian Defence Force and global supply chains. A key part of the state’s commitment to the Victorian defence industry is the advice, guidance and advocacy provided to government and industry by the Victorian Defence Industry Advocate, the Defence Council Victoria, and the Victorian Defence Alliances. We will continue to work closely with the Australian Department of Defence and the defence industry to ensure that we have the expertise and capability to continue delivering domestic and international defence projects.


at a further $400 million over the life of the boats.


manufacturer of heavy vehicles. This sector is well developed to contribute to the sovereign industrial capability supporting the ADF’s LAND program. Rheinmetall Defence Australia is constructing its Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, a suburb of Ipswich, and when completed the MILVEHCOE will represent the premier sovereign military vehicle capability in Australia, manufacturing the Boxer CRV for the Australian Army. The MILVEHCOE will also sit within the Queensland heavy vehicle network, a network of more than 150 businesses – including prime contractors like Volvo and Thales – which represents the strongest heavy vehicle manufacturing and sustainment cluster of capability in the nation. Additionally, the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in South East Queensland will become an Asia Pacific hub for the continuous design, manufacture and support for up to 5,000 military vehicles throughout the Asia Pacific region. Queensland is also the home of the new headquarters of the Defence Cooperative Research Centre for Trusted Autonomous Systems (DCRC-TAS). As the nerve centre of this national endeavour, Queensland will be at the forefront of Australia’s work on robotics, unmanned and autonomous systems. Boeing Defence Australia will


consolidate all existing support services to maintain the Australian Army’s CH47F Chinook fleet with an in-country through life support contract. The majority of work will be undertaken in Oakey and Townsville, delivering a more cost effective Chinook support while maximising Australian industry capability and local agility to respond to Australia’s operational requirements. TAE will provide full in-country support for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft engine and is the Asia Pacific hub for the F-35 engine MRO&U (maintenance, repair, operations and upgrade). TAE currently maintains the AGT1500 Abrams Tank engine, F404 and F414 engines for the Hornet and Super Hornet. In Cairns, in-service support for Armidale Class Patrol Boats takes place through Prime Contractor Thales, and sustainment of Navy’s Hydrographic ships is currently managed through BAE Systems. Various Cape Class Patrol Boats used by Border Force and Navy are sustained in Cairns (as well as Darwin and WA) and in-service support is provided through Austal for the Pacific Patrol Boats that the Australian Government has provided to various Pacific Island Nations. Austal will support the sustainment of the 21 replacement Pacific Patrol Boats, including deep maintenance activities, from Cairns. In total, through-life support and sustainment for the PPBs is valued


Defence West, within the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI), is the Western Australian Government office responsible for supporting the interests of the local defence industry. Its role is to deliver the capability requirements of the Australian Defence Force and to increase the state’s exports. Industries in Western Australia have the capacity and expertise to support the defence industry and have strengths in naval vessel construction and sustainment, complex systems integration, communications and cyber security. In October 2018, the state government launched the WA Defence and Defence Industries Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan focuses on strengthening and diversifying WA’s economy through identifying and developing research and development opportunities and cutting edge science and innovation. The Plan provides direction across six key strategies to ensure WA is able to be a key player in the national and international defence industry and also be a major contributor towards the needs and requirements of the Australian Defence Force.  The Plan draws on the state’s key pre-established strengths and capabilities in maintenance and sustainment, outlining a vision for the state to become the principal location for the delivery of all maintenance and sustainment requirements for Australia’s submarines and frigates. Since the 1987 implementation of the Two Ocean Policy, HMAS Stirling has emerged as the Royal Australian Navy’s major fleet base on the Indian Ocean. Up to half of the RAN’s fleet is based permanently in Western Australia, including all six of the Collins submarines.


Much of the naval sustainment activity is located at the Australian Marine Complex (AMC), the southern hemisphere’s premier integrated marine industrial facility which enables industry to deliver projects of an international scale. The AMC is a world-class centre of excellence in manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, maintenance and technology servicing the marine, defence, oil and gas, and resource industries. Located at Henderson, 23 kilometres south of Perth in Cockburn Sound, the AMC provides protected deep water harbours, world class multi-user load out and fabrications facilitation and is connected to industrial areas via highwide load road access. The AMC has established international credentials for the repair, maintenance and construction of naval and commercial vessels, as well as infrastructure for the fabrication and assembly of offshore oil and gas modules. Last year, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne announced that the Navy’s new survey vessel would be constructed at Henderson, a project with a budget of around $200 million. Also at Henderson, Civmec has begun cutting steel for the first of 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels to be built for the Royal Australian Navy under a $3 billion program. Civmec has a contract with OPV bid winner Luerssen to supply and process steel for all 12 ships, and will undertake the fabrication, construction and consolidation of 10 vessels at Henderson.


Canberra is a major centre for defence industry, with the largest concentration of defence and national security agencies, assets, organisations, diplomatic networks and industry bodies in Australia.

Over a third of Defence’s Capability and Acquisition Sustainment Support Service company panel members are located in Canberra.   The ACT has Australia’s most highly educated workforce and is home to five Australian universities including Australia’s highest globally ranked university, the Australian National University (ANU). UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy and the University of Canberra also have enormous domain expertise. The ACT Government is a strong supporter of further developing the ACT’s Defence industry, and its Established, Capable, Skilled defence strategy outlines a plan for how to build up Canberra’s already significant and globally competitive defence industry to support Defence and secure flow-on economic benefits for the Canberra community. By working with the ACT’s innovative small, medium and large enterprises, world-class research and higher education institutions and national security agencies, the ACT Government is positioning the Canberra region to make the most of the significant opportunities arising from the Defence White Paper. Under the ACT strategy there are 23 distinct actions which focus on five key priority areas: • Supporting the Canberra region to maximise opportunities from Defence procurement • Collaborating with other states and territories • Attracting investment to grow the defence industry in the Canberra region • Continuing to build a skilled, innovative and connected workforce • Fostering new ideas and growing research and industry partnerships


Defence’s areas of operation are predominately to the north of

Australia. The NT, particularly Darwin, is strategically located to provide sustainment support to Defence with minimal equipment down time by removing the need to transport Defence platforms long distances for maintenance and repair. The recent Defence Statement for Northern Australia, issued by the Australian Government, states that “A strong north makes for a more secure Australia”. A strong defence capability in the north is best served by a competitive and sustainable local industrial and technological base. To that end, the NT is currently the centre for a number of significant sustainment programs, while $20 billion will also be invested in Defence infrastructure in the Territory over the next two decades. At the Robertson Barracks, a squadron of Tiger ARH helicopters is sustained by Airbus Australia, while there are also a number of naval sustainment programs. Thales Australia supports the Armidale Class Patrol Boat fleet at HMAS Coonawarra, with support from Austal. The Bushmaster vehicles and other land-based platforms are sustained by various SMEs in the NT, including by RGM Maintenance, while Broadspectrum has an EMOS contract to sustain the fixed assets at the various NT Defence bases. A Regional Force Surveillance Group was established at Larrakeyah Barracks in September 2018. In terms of upcoming initiatives, six of the 12 new Offshore Patrol Vessels will be home ported at HMAS Coonawarra, while the forward operation of the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft will be located at RAAF Base Tindal. Tindal will also be the base for a squadron of F35 Joint Strike Fighters. An increase in annual US Marine rotation numbers over the past few years is expected to reach 2,500 personnel and impact various platform and equipment requirements in coming years.






Find out how Australia’s frontline for defence industries is delivering for the future. DEFENCE JOBS QUEENSLAND

Authorised by the Queensland Government, William Street, Brisbane.

By The Hon. Cameron Dick MP, Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning.


n 2018 we saw Queensland’s defence industry capabilities well and truly displayed on the national and international radar. Guided by the actions set out in our Defence Industries and Aerospace 10Year Roadmaps, the Queensland Government is focused on maximising the opportunities for our defence and aerospace industries to grow. This year’s jewel in the crown was the selection of Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) as the winning tenderer for LAND400 Phase 2, and its decision to build its next-generation combat reconnaissance vehicles in Queensland. RDA is building its AustraliaNew Zealand Headquarters and Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) at Redbank, west of Brisbane – a facility which will represent the most significant sovereign military vehicle capability in the country. From this facility it will deliver Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles for the Australian Army and contribute $1 billion toward Queensland’s economy. This major vote of confidence in our state’s future as Australia’s nextgeneration defence supplier is a catalytic opportunity for the industry here, and bodes well as Rheinmetall pitches its peerless Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle for LAND400 Phase 3. Other achievements have included the Australian Government’s decision to base the headquarters of the Defence Cooperative Research Centre for Trusted Autonomous Systems in Queensland; Land 121 Phase 5B being awarded to Rheinmetall and

Haulmark Trailers, with much of the work to occur in Queensland; and Boeing’s decision to base its largest autonomous systems program outside of the United States here. It’s no exaggeration when we say Queensland is Australia’s frontline for defence and defence industries. As well as leading the delivery of some of defence’s most advanced procurement projects, our state is home to the largest concentration of defence personnel, assets, bases, ports, training ranges and support sites in the country. Such an extensive defence presence means equally extensive sustainment activity. This includes the work being done by Queensland SMEs to keep our armed forces in great shape, from the shipyards in Cairns to the growing defence industry corridor around Ipswich. Queensland also has a long and proud military history in Townsville, where a wide array of homegrown SMEs are providing world-class support to Australia’s largest garrison city. It’s no wonder Australian defence contract payments secured by Queensland businesses more than

doubled between 2016-17 and 201819, rising to an impressive $9.55 billion. And while 2018 was a year of great success for Queensland, 2019 promises to be just as big as we keep the momentum rolling. Alongside some of the key initiatives outlined above, we are taking steps to place Queensland at the forefront of the emerging cyber warfare agenda by working to establish a formal C4ISREW cluster. In the aerospace domain, we continue to contribute to the Australian space race by supporting the growing space industry, including investigating potential sites for a launch facility and satellite park. 2019 will also be a year of intense preparation as our state gets ready to host the first ever MRO Australasia event in 2020 – the world’s premier aviation MRO showcase. Supporting this momentum is our government’s focus on sustaining a skilled manufacturing workforce into the future, to ensure we continue winning and capitalising on future job-generating defence project contracts that will bring economic benefits to all Queenslanders.



SME S CRITICAL FOR SOVEREIGN CAPABILITY Where the 2016 Defence White Paper outlined Australia’s strategic direction at a high level, the 2018 Defence Industrial Capability Plan is a detailed and practical roadmap on how to achieve the nation’s defence goals through a sovereign industry. A critical focus for the plan is the development of an innovative and efficient SME defence sector, as Lachlan Colquhoun reports.


he Defence Industrial Capability Plan is the first time Australia has articulated and outlined the industry development required to create an effective sovereign defence capability. In the 2016 White Paper, a strategic plan was announced for next-generation weapons platforms across all areas of Defence, and the government responded with a $200


billion investment over several decades. This was followed by the 2017 Naval Shipbuilding Plan, which contained the government’s commitment to a continuous shipbuilding program and the development of the Australian shipbuilding industry to support it. The first ever Defence Industrial Capability Plan was then released in April 2018, outlining Australia’s long-term vision and defence industry


objectives, and how government and Defence will partner with industry to achieve that vision. The Plan acknowledges the importance of a stronger, more resilient and internationally competitive defence industry which not only has the capability of serving and sustaining Australia’s needs, but scaling and innovating to create an export industry. By 2028, it says, Australia will require a “larger, more capable and prepared defence industry that has the resident skills, expertise, technology, intellectual property and infrastructure”. “This Plan highlights a range of opportunities for Australia’s defence industry over the next decade and reinforces the sustained partnerships we need to position our defence industry to meet our defence capability needs,” said then Minister



for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne when releasing the report. “Importantly, the Plan makes clear that to be considered an Australian Defence company, having an ABN and a shopfront is no longer enough: we want to see Australian leadership, an Australian board and an Australian workforce value-adding right here at home.”


Intrinsic to the Plan is a list of initial Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities, which span all three areas of Defence such as technology upgrades to the Collins Class submarines, Land Combat Vehicle and upgrades, and combat clothing survivability and signature reduction capabilities. Support will be extended to each of the six Integrated Investment Program capability streams and implementation Plans for each Sovereign Priority from mid-2019. A grants program targeting the Priorities was announced in the second half of 2018, with funding of up to $17 million a year across the program to be delivered through the Centre for Defence Industry Capability. The grants program recognises the critical role Australian SMEs will play in creating the nation’s sovereign defence, working with Prime contractors and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) as part of a comprehensive and collaborative supply chain. The government funding is available to Australian SMEs with less than 200 employees, and will enable the firms to meet up to 50% of their project costs, including capital equipment, specialist software and security infrastructure, non-recurring engineering costs, design activities or enhanced working training. Eligible SMEs will be able to receive an unlimited number of grants over the entire program lifetime, with a minimum value of $50,000 and a maximum of $1

"The government funding is available to Australian SMEs with less than 200 employees, and will enable the firms to meet up to 50% of their project costs, including capital equipment, specialist software and security infrastructure, non-recurring engineering costs, design activities or enhanced working training." million, up to a total of $3 million over a period of three years.


A skilled workforce is critical to the Plan, and the government addressed this with a survey of the defence workforce, giving organisations the opportunity to have their say on workforce challenges and skills-related barriers affecting their contribution to the national capability. The survey will help inform the development of the Defence Industry Skilling and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Strategy. “The survey will help us build a better picture of defence sector skills and identify trends that may impact capacity to meet Defence’s current and future capability needs,” said Minister Pyne. The government has also appointed a National Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Facilitator, experienced international management expert Stephen Hayes. A former chief executive of the International Centre for Complex Project Management, Hayes will assist Defence in identifying and assessing defence skills issues and drive greater collaboration across the industry. Working with the many defence SMEs are major companies such as Thales, which owns the small arms producing Lithgow Arms factory in Lithgow among its many Australian investments and activities. Lithgow Arms launched an innovation shed in May 2018, only weeks after the Defence Industrial Capability Plan was announced and included small arms design and production as a priority.

“We had 180 workers that went home very happy after that announcement,” Lithgow Arms vice president – Land Australia and NZ, Kevin Wall told Senator Bridget McKenzie at the launch of the innovation shed. The shed, while built on the factory grounds, is in a separate facility and will focus on technologies that look at least five years into the future. Other major defence companies active in Australia have welcomed the Plan, and are configuring their local operations to contribute and to collaborate with Australian SMEs. Aerospace and defence organisation General Dynamics, for example, has expanded its presence with the opening of a new engineering resource centre. Chris Marzilli, the president of General Dynamics Mission Systems, says the company was working with Defence to support the modernisation plans. BAE Systems has also welcomed the Plan, and the company’s Australia Chief Executive Gabby Costigan described Australian SMEs as an “important contributor” to Defence and said BAE was committed to growing this contribution. “The Defence Industry in Australia is a highly productive one, employing many thousands of highly skilled professionals,” Costigan says. “The Defence Industry Capability Plan, together with the Government’s Defence Export Strategy, will work hand in hand to ensure continued opportunities that will grow our base of technicians, engineers and scientists.”



YOUR TRUSTED PARTNER For over thirty years we have proudly supported the Navy’s combat power. Together we keep Australia safe. Now we’re excited to move forward with the new-generation combat system technology for RAN’s future fleet. As Australia’s most experienced defence systems company, we employ over 300 Australian systems engineers, the best in their league, and subcontract work to more than 200 local companies. Australian service men and women rely on Saab technology to keep them safe and bring them home. Saab, keeping people and society safe.


Saab, keeping people and society safe.



uch has been said in mainstream media and by various strategic think-tanks about the marked shift in Australian Government policy over the last few years towards a greater emphasis on developing and sustaining sovereign defence capabilities. Some suggest that there is a “premium” to be paid for building military systems in-country and question the cost and logic of doing so. Observers of Australian military and political history will have noted that this sovereign argument has swung like a pendulum since federation. The one great message that has come through is that, where the Australian Government commits to building a capability in-country, Australian Defence industry has always delivered. Yes of course they had help, partnering with far more experienced suppliers from larger markets, to build the ships, aircraft, military

equipment and complex software systems; however, the technology transfer associated with these build programs has been a significant enabler for the growth of Australia’s domestic engineering capabilities and has been pivotal in providing a competent workforce for our mining booms, infrastructure development and Defence industry growth. While not everything that could be built in-country would be costeffective to do so, the much vaunted ‘premium’ is, in fact, a myth. Studies of significant projects, such as the Anzac frigate, for example, have shown that the actual total return on investment to the country can be as high as 150%. Modelling of the Anzac frigate program suggests that the $5.6 billion construction program generated between $3 billion and $7.5 billion in additional GDP. This makes sense when you consider that the government immediately reaps

a 50% return through worker income tax and GST and also gains company tax from both local primes and subsuppliers. Sub-suppliers that won supply contracts which offered stable long-term cash-flow were able to secure loans to buy new state-of-theart machinery and invest in training to allow them to successfully bid on new business both here and overseas. Most were able to substantially grow their businesses and value to the economy as a direct result of this investment in sovereign capability. The value of technology transfer also needs to be considered. For example, Saab Australia was established in Australia in 1988 as part of a technology transfer program for the combat system on the Anzac frigate project. While the bulk of the combat system software initially came from Sweden, many Australians and New Zealanders were trained up to undertake software development, producing many new and customised interface modules and adapting the human machine interface to meet Australian requirements. Roll forward 30 years and Saab Australia now has the capability to undertake full combat system development in-country and has been able to apply this technology very successfully in new civil domains such as integrated security and cybersecurity. With a workforce of over 450 this can be seen as a testament to the value of a sovereign defence capability policy. In the future, the government should continue to develop this sovereign defence capability policy and further enhance the return to the Australian economy by actively supporting defence research and development and export opportunities.



HYBRID SYSTEMS MODELLING METHODOLOGY DRIVES EVIDENCE-BASED DECISION MAKING In many projects over several years, the ADF has engaged the Capability Systems Centre at the University of NSW’s Canberra campus and leveraged the centre’s multidisciplinary team for advice. By Lachlan Colquhoun.


hen the Australian Defence Force considers new acquisitions or the management of existing assets, there are always many complex set of quantitative and qualitative factors that inform into that decision. In many projects over several years, the ADF has engaged the Capability Systems Centre (CSC) at the University of NSW’s Canberra campus and leveraged the Centre’s multidisciplinary team for advice. Co-located at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), the Capability Systems Centre is a centre of research excellence specialising in all aspects of an asset’s lifecycle, from original


acquisition through to sustainment and ultimately to retirement. The Centre provides mentoring and assurance support to decision makers with services spanning independent assurance, research and independent advice, and education and training. Providing science-based decision analysis for ADF is an example of one of the areas that the CSC informs. Determining the number and timing of assets to be acquired and retired requires an understanding of how different combinations of decisions will impact on organisational performance measures, such as availability and efficient resource utilisation. This provides objective


and science-driven evidence to justify investments in ADF capabilities. A key thrust area for CSC is the development of decision support tools that deliver information and knowledge that is relevant and understandable to inform decision making. These tools integrate multi criteria decision making (MCDM) with hybrid modelling approaches. “Asset planners are faced with the task of making decisions involving multiple criteria of different types, many of which will change over the lifecycle of the assets. On making decisions, they often encounter a massive amount of data and information which does not automatically translate into better decisions, especially when you consider uncertainties in both data and future situations” says Associate Professor Mike Ryan, the Director of the CSC. “Scientific research already shows our limited ability to synthesize large amounts of information and mentally simulate how decisions play out over



long time periods. Decision support tools provide the analytical and predictive power to synthesise various sources of information to create useful and actionable knowledge for asset managers. This knowledge can transform the way asset management strategies are designed to maximise value to asset owners and stakeholders.” Professor Ryan says the Centre uses a “hybrid” approach, beginning with quantitative data analysis from computational models (e.g. simulation, optimisation) and overlaying qualitative factors which may be political, social or cultural. Starting with a quantitative approach enables an understanding of what is “physically and technically feasible”; the hybrid approach then moves to qualitative analysis, “which is where you understand which of the things you can possibly do are the ones you actually want to do”. MCMD approaches can be an effective solution to this, due to their ability to handle complex problems with a high dimensionality of criteria. While the tools and methodologies remain the same, the difference is in the data that is produced, often by simulation and modelling, during the quantitative research phase. Professor Ryan gives the example of aircraft asset management, and a hypothetical scenario in which there are seven aircraft in a fleet and a need to maintain three at an operational level. “To keep those in the air, you have a maintenance process,” he says. “If you decide you need to replace those aircraft because they are ageing then you have some decisions to make about the rates at which you might acquire new aircraft and pay off the old aircraft, and other considerations such as the rate at which you buy

spares for the old aircraft as well as the new.” This quantitative process may present several options, from which decisions can be made based on a combination of political, budget, or human resource imperatives. “The idea is to run the simulation models, and use the outputs to identify

Arriving at effective decisions on these complex issues requires consideration of multiple criteria, some of which are purely quantitative and others which are qualitative. A methodology that efficiently combines the quantitative with the qualitative delivers the hybrid approach.

“If you decide you need to replace those aircraft because they are ageing then you have some decisions to make about the rate at which you might acquire new aircraft, the rate at which you will pay off the old aircraft, and other considerations such as the rate at which you buy spares for the old aircraft and buying them for the new.” technically feasible options and then rank them by qualitative factors, so you can say that while all these are possible, but for these qualitative reasons I prefer that selected option,” Professor Ryan says. In another real life example, Australia is facing a range of decisions as it replaces the Collins Class submarines with the new Attack class vessels from the 2030s. The need to keep the Collins Class submarines at sea creates a set of needs that must be balanced and this requires complex decision making. “To use the submarine example, there are decisions to be made on retiring the existing submarines, since all current vessels can’t be retired simultaneously,” says Professor Ryan. “Also, they can’t retain all the crews simultaneously, and there’s a decision to be made about the new Naval recruits coming out of HMAS Cerberus and going on to classspecific training. Even relatively straightforward questions such as “Are they training to serve on the old boats or the new ones?” or “Do the new submarines use the same facilities and workforce as the Collins class?” result in a moderately complex decisionmaking process.

Simulation with computational models can be very useful, but without a concise and relevant way to present the information to decision makers, it can be difficult to link the analysis back to the real word. Consequently, visualization and user-driven decision making processes are other research interests for the CSC. “We cannot simply assume that scientific analysis, however elaborate, will automatically improve decision making. At CSC, we take a more sophisticated view by creating environments and aids that support rather than overwhelm decision makers; to translate scientific knowledge into business language rather than insist that managers become trained analysts. Consequently, the CSC plays a crucial role in asset management through support of evidence-based decision making” The CSC has developed a range of integrated approaches which have successfully been tested on a number of major Defence projects. Further research and development will lead to even more powerful integrated techniques.





KBRWYLE LEADS THE WAY WITH AR AND VR TRAINING Augmented and virtual reality solutions are the way forward as Defence trains on next generation platforms, and KBRwyle is at the forefront of this new training environment. By Lachlan Colquhoun.


he two Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships are the largest ships ever to sail in the Australian Navy fleet and present a range of new challenges in optimising crew training. One proven and effective way to familiarise crews with the LHDs before their deployment, or between deployments, is to use the comprehensive suite of virtual reality training solutions provided by KBRwyle.


KBRwyle, which also has the sustainment contracts for the LHDs HMAS Canberra and Adelaide, created an LHD Ship Walkthrough Computer Model which represents a ‘serious games’ approach to single and multitraining in a photorealistic, immersive real-time environment. Delivered through its unit KBR Training Solutions, the solution is a comprehensive real-time 3D virtual environment learning experience for a variety of training experiences


such as whole ship and joining ship familiarisation, high voltage awareness familiarisation and damage control. Marine engineering familiarisation can also be delivered for 14 different ship-wide systems. The LHD virtual training solution is deployed in a dedicated classroom environment or on a desktop through part-task training, and can also be deployed on board the ships. The LHD virtual training solution delivered a range of benefits to the Navy, proving the effectiveness of the technology in the military training environment. These benefits included lower costs, increased trainee safety, improved on-board productivity of sailors, technical accuracy through real-time rendering, support for both individual and team-based training,



almost unlimited expansion options and enhanced operational availability for the ships, enabling more days at sea. Simulation is a key focus for Navy training, with the technology used across the service and also centred at the new $90 million Navy Training Systems Centre at Randwick in Sydney. The Navy approach was articulated by Captain Jonathan Ley, the Director of the Navy Modelling and Simulation Office, who says that while Navy was an agile war-fighting force, it needed to challenge the status quo, innovate and find better ways of approaching its tasks. “Simulation allows activities to be conducted on demand, in a controlled and repeatable manner while providing near immediate results to support after action review,” Captain Ley says. “It is also safe and generally more cost effective.”


The VR and newer AR training systems developed by KBRwyle are not limited to LHD application, but are part of a wider capability also delivered in a wide range of other defence and also civilian applications. KBRwyle has established a global Augmented and Virtual Reality Centre of Excellence based in Canberra, which develops solutions across multiple sectors including defence, infrastructure and resources. Through the Centre, KBRwyle offers analysis, design and development of VR and AR programs for use in training or to interact with an engineering design in a realistic but cost-effective way. The Centre functions as the hub for a global Community of Practice for VR and AR, drawing in experiences from across the world to create an enhanced capability, both for military and civilian applications.

From an original 3D visualisation, a VR experience can be created to enhance the model into a new dimension, giving stakeholders the opportunity to ‘walk through’ the design and interact with the enabled components. This can be done either on a PC or through a virtual reality headset. Increasingly, the focus is not on developing VR or AR solutions but what is now called mixed reality, where the two are combined with the suite of CAD and simulation

“In this decade people are expecting to use VR and AR in training environments and we thought it would be useful to look at the F-35 through this lens as well.” technologies and also online connectivity to deliver more vivid training experiences. The advantages of this approach are significant. It eliminates the need to travel to a single training location and frees up the use of dedicated capital resources, which can be deployed elsewhere and conserved for operations. Beginning with the LHDs, KBRwyle’s virtual and augmented reality capabilities have been expanded to other Defence programs including the ARH Tiger and MRH-90 helicopters. KBRwyle has also extended its longrunning involvement in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program into the area of virtual reality, creating a “Lightning II” VR training environment which enables both aircraft familiarisation and part task training. The prototype for the demonstrator was developed in less than a month by the team at the Canberra Centre of Excellence, showcasing the depth of expertise.

“We have a long history of working on the F-35 program, and developed much of the e-learning course training program for pilots and maintainers from 2005, working in conjunction with Northrop Grumman,” explains Michael Hardly, the general manager – modelling, simulation and training at KBRwyle. “We were one of the original six providers of the courseware, and are very proud that we were the only one outside of the US to be engaged in this crucial early phase of the program.” Working from a secure facility in Canberra, the KBRwyle team acquired significant knowledge of the F-35 and, in addition to the e-learning courseware, began to leverage the company’s VR capability to create a virtual reality demonstrator for the F35 platform. “Our experience with the VR walkthrough for the LHD showed us that people could learn in days what it might take months to learn on the ships,” says Hardy. “And that was the driver for the F-35 demonstrator, to familiarise people who were going to be coming into contact with the aircraft so they could understand it before they actually saw the real thing.”


KBRwyle has implemented two aspects of F-35 training into the VR environment, one around aircraft safety and the other for aircraft operation. In terms of safety, the user is able to move around and interact with various areas of the aircraft, understanding the danger zones associated with aircraft systems and obtain additional information from the VR. For operation, users can interact with aircraft systems, and those not proficient in systems operation will





“Our experience with the VR walk-through for the LHD showed us that people could learn in days what it might take months to learn on the ships. And that was the driver for the F-35 demonstrator, to familiarise people who were going to be coming into contact with the aircraft so they could understand it before they actually saw the real thing.” be stepped through the process and made aware of all warnings, safety precautions and procedures. Users with some proficiency move through system access shortcuts provided in the VR environment. The VR also delivers an advanced aircraft examination capability which enables users to examine the aircraft, its systems, systems operation and components using different menu functions and interactions within the VR. This mode requires some modification of the VR environment to allow rotated, sliced and exploded views in addition to cross sections and ghosting tools. “In this decade people are expecting to use VR and AR in training environments and we thought it would be useful to look at the F-35 through this lens as well,” says Hardy. “We


thought ‘here is a fifth-generation aircraft, it needs to have a full range of modern training modalities.’ And our focus is very much on the people who are the workforce for the F-35, and helping equip them in doing their jobs.” Currently the F-35 demonstrator is not officially part of the F-35 program and comprises no restricted technologies, but works as a familiarisation and education tool for Defence personnel out of the program and also as a way for the public to understand more about the aircraft. It also functions as a demonstration for KBRwyle’s capability in VR and AR. “It gives a very close idea of the look and feel of the aircraft,” says Hardy. “You can look underneath the bomb bay, see what the pilot sees in


the cockpit and the ladder that the pilot uses. “So it is a benefit to anyone who needs to understand the scale and size of the plane, but also it is of great interest to the general public.” The demonstrator was presented to the F-35 original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems in Orlando, Lockheed Martin Aerospace in Fort Worth and Lockheed Martin Australia in Canberra. It is also slated for presentation at the Avalon 2019 Australian International Airshow in March 2019, where industry and members of the public had the opportunity to experience the demonstrator and obtain a closer understanding of Australia’s next generation fighter. At previous airshows, visitors were able to view a cardboard mock-up of the F-35 but, in keeping with the advance of technology, in 2019 they have the opportunity to experience the aircraft through VR and AR in a format which allows closer interaction to enhance the experience.

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The Australian Army has been assembling a range of next generation capabilities, from new vehicles to solider combat ensembles and battle management capabilities. By Lachlan Colquhoun.


he Defence budget estimates that the Army will spend more than $1.6 billion on sustainment in 2018/19, rising to more than $2.1 billion by 2021/22. Planning this budget to deliver the best outcome is a complex task. Not only does the Army need 21,000 items of uniforms and footwear each year, but the lifecycles of sophisticated equipment must be budgeted and planned for. At the same time as sustaining the older fleet of Thales Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles and ensuring their lifecycle through to 2030, for example, the Army needs to plan the sustainment of other vehicles such as the newer Hawkei. The contract for Thales to supply 1,100 Hawkeis involves 200 jobs at the Bendigo factory, and also another 200 jobs both in the production supply chain and in the sustainment of the vehicles. Beyond the Hawkeis, the army is also now looking towards the introduction of the Boxer Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicles and a whole new industry is

being developed centred on South East Queensland, but extending to other states, to build and maintain the LAND400 Phase 2 program. The new Boxers will provide an enhanced capability for the army, but will work in tactical concert with M1A1 Abrams battle tanks, which have been Australia’s main battle tanks since 59 were purchased in 2007. Along with the seven Hercules Armoured Recovery Vehicles, this fleet has been the focus of a $58 million, multi-year upgrade called the Tank Refresh Program completed in 2018, while another $6 million has been spent on refreshing the Army’s six Tank Advanced Gunner Training Systems. The Tank Refresh Program has included engineering changes, refreshing engines and transmissions, replacing hydraulic hose systems and applying a heavy suspension kit. Beyond this program, other upgrades are planned to keep Australia’s battle tanks operational and competitive until the 2030s.

The work is to be done under the LAND907 project, for which around $750 million has been earmarked and which will require the participation of Australian industry. Under this program, Australia’s Abrams will be upgraded again from ‘analogue to digital’, reconfiguring them to the latest US Army M1A2 standards with other mechanical components overhauled and with the tanks refurbished back to zero hour, as new condition. The tanks will be installed with electro optic sensors which will give them a much deadlier capability, and they will also be fully networked with the rest of the Army through the digitised battle management system which enables the sharing of sensor data. Another even older equipment program that is undergoing upgrade is the Army’s fleet of ten CH-47F Chinook helicopters, which originally entered Australian service in 1974. The Chinooks remain capable and relevant in the 21st century, and a new partnership agreement has been signed with Boeing Defence Australia for their ongoing maintenance, aligning it with the international program of allied nations also using the type. So effective are the Chinooks in their transport and logistics role that, even though some were retired from Army service in 1989, they were brought back and Australia took delivery of three new aircraft as recently as 2016. Under the new agreement, Boeing plans to consolidate all existing Chinook services into a new “through life support contract to be conducted in country”. Boeing currently supports the Army’s Chinooks from its Townsville base, and also has a training centre at Oakey and another at Nowra in NSW.




F-35 AND BEYOND There is great excitement as Australia welcomes the arrival of its first F-35, an aircraft that signals a new era in Australia’s air defence. By Lachlan Colquhoun.


he F/A-18 Hornet has been in Australian service since 1985 and will continue to be the spearhead of the RAAF until the F-35 era begins. Maintaining the type has required over three decades of continuous and vigilant sustainment, and this will continue until the 71 Classic Hornets finally come to the end of their service in 2021. The Hornets and the associated training systems are supported by the Tactical Fighter System Program Office (TFSPO) which is based at the RAAF base Williamtown in NSW and in turn supported through multiple CASG organisations, Air Force workshops and contracted industry partners. At this point in its lifecycle, the focus is on continuing to support the fleet to its Planned Withdrawal Date in 2021, and this requires maximising availability and assuring



operational capability effectiveness to the last day of service. Global aviation giant Boeing has had a long association with Australia’s Hornet fleet, and the terms of the company’s contract were expanded in August 2017 and through to the final year of 2021. Valued at close to $145 million, the Class Hornet Sustainment Support contract has been extended to include ongoing engineering, logistics and maintenance sustainment support. The contract is securing ongoing employment for approximately 80 additional workers based in the Newcastle and Hunter regions. With an eye to the future, the contract also gives Defence the ability to redirect resources to transition support to new capabilities, such as the F-35 and the EA-18G Growler, a next generation attack aircraft based on the Hornet airframe. Another aircraft which has given years of distinguished service to the RAAF is the C-130 Hercules, which is now being supported in the transport and logistics role by the C-27 Spartan fleet based at RAAF Richmond. To sustain the capability of the Hercules, Defence signed a contract extension in December 2018 with Airbus Australia Pacific to continue supporting the Hercules through to 2024.


The original through life support (TLS) sustainment contract was signed in 2009. Announcing the extension, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said it would secure the employment of approximately 220 industry personnel at RAAF Richmond. He said that the Australian component is valued at around $110 million and comprises just over 60% of the contract value. Lockheed Martin is the original equipment manufacturer of the C-130 and is serving as the principal contractor, while a number of Australian small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are also involved in performing work under the contract. The C-27 Spartan aircraft complement the capabilities of the Hercules, and Australia took delivery of its tenth and final Spartan in April 2018. In 2019, No 35 Squadron which operates the Spartans will relocate from Richmond to RAAF Amberley in South East Queensland, where a purpose-built facility has been developed. The sustainment contract for the Spartan program is in the hands of Northrop Grumman, which was awarded a $200 million through life support program in November 2017.

Another generational change is the phasing out of the P-3 Orion reconnaissance and antisubmarine aircraft and its replacement by the Boeing P-8A Poseidon, which is based on the commercial 737 airliner. Australia will ultimately take delivery of 12 Poseidons, and the first six are operated by Number 11 Squadron based at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia. Poseidon is a $5 billion program, and Boeing is working with teaming partner Airbus on sustainment under the P-8A Interim Sustainment Support contract. The Poseidons also carry Australian components, with the ailerons designed and built at Boeing’s facility at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne. Airbus and Boeing may be aviation rivals but they are also collaborators. In addition to working together on the Poseidon, they have delivered the EC135 helicopter to the Helicopter Aircrew Training Centre (HATS) at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW. Pilots from all branches of the ADF train at HATS on the EC135s, which were built by Airbus but with the HATS program delivered by Boeing and Thales under a contract awarded in 2014.

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NAVY MANAGING ASSET LIFETIMES With a number of new programs at the beginning of their lifecycles, the Navy also has a significant task in sustaining existing assets in operational condition to maintain the capability of the fleet. By Lachlan Colquhoun.


n programs such as submarines, surface based frigates and also patrol boats, the Navy is simultaneously planning for next generation platforms as it needs to keep current assets in optimal condition. In some cases, this does not mean just routine maintenance but upgrading ships and submarines with the latest technology and systems so as to maintain their competitive edge. It is estimated that up to 25% of Defence budgets for key platforms are spent on sustainment, and this involves Prime contractors, the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in their supply chain and also specialist contractors, many of them large global companies. The Collins Class submarines entered service in the 1990s and will remain Australia’s front-line submarine deterrent until the 2030s.

In this case the builder ASC also has the sustainment contract for the Collins Class program under a fiveyear contract which began in 2016, but brings in specialist expertise when required. In 2017, international engineering consultancy BMT was engaged to work with ASC on Collins sustainment. In Cairns, locally based company Norship provided key sustainment services to the current Cape Class Patrol Boats from the company’s base in Cairns, and this significant experience and knowledge will also be leveraged for the new Pacific Patrol Boats to be built by Austal. Austral will deliver 19 of the steel hulled patrol boats under a contract which also includes $24 million for upgrades to the Cairns Marine Precinct, while more than $400 million will be spent on maintenance of the new boats.

The Navy’s two largest ships are the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) vessels, and in November 2018 it was announced that Naval Ship Management (NSM), a joint venture between Babcock and UGL Engineering, had been awarded a $1.1 billion contract to sustain the LHDs and their 12 associated amphibious LHD landing craft (LLCs) for up to 15 years. Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said the contract would create more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in Sydney, where the LHDs are based, and also across a national supply chain. NSM also provides sustainment support, such as fleet availability, efficiency and cost optimisation for the Navy’s Anzac class frigate fleet under a contract awarded in 2016. The Anzac frigates are also currently in an upgrade phase as Navy plans the transition between the Anzac Class and Future Frigates, and this work is being delivered by BAE Systems Australia, the OEM which will also deliver the Future Frigates in the late 2020s. BAE is working in a partnership called the Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) Alliance, which also includes Saab Australia, and NSM. In December 2018 it was announced that HMAS Arunta, one of the Anzac ships, had received a full mid-life capability assurance (AMCAP) upgrade at the Henderson facility in Western Australia, and similar upgrades on the remaining seven vessels are expected to be completed by 2023. Weapons systems also require ongoing sustainment, and in December 2018 it was announced that Serco had been awarded a fiveyear $20 million contract to provide sustainment services for the Navy’s ship-borne Mini Typhoon, Typhoon and Toplite systems. To support the contract, Serco will establish four sites around Australia with dedicated technical and engineering staff.





QUEENSLAND BECOMES THE ‘KHAKI STATE’ WITH LAND400 Rheinmetall’s commitment to build the Boxer CRV vehicle in South East Queensland is transformative both for the company’s operations in Australia, and also for the development of the state’s defence industry. By Lachlan Colquhoun.


he first sod was turned in November 2018 for Rheinmetall’s $170 million Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) and was a significant event on many levels. For Rheinmetall, the new MILVEHCOE is a major leap in its Australian manufacturing capability and it will be the company’s largest presence outside of Germany. It is at the Ipswich suburb of Redbank that the German company will build and deliver around 200 Boxer 88 combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV) under the Australian Defence Force’s $5.2 billion LAND400 Phase 2 contract. The first 25 Boxers will be built in


Germany and the Australian produced vehicles will begin rolling off the Redbank production line in 2020, with production due to continue through to 2026. When in full production, a new Boxer CRV will roll off the production line for delivery to the ADF every three days. Rheinmetall has also been contracted to deliver 2,500 medium and heavily military trucks to the ADF under the third phase of project 3B of the LAND 121 project, and this significant followup order will also be delivered from Rheinmetall facilities in Queensland. The company has also indicated it will bid for the $15 billion LAND Phase


3 program, offering the new Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The Lynx is a tracked and well protected IFV designed for close combat, and with the potential to be a mainstay for the ADF for up to 30 years. For Queensland’s manufacturing industry, locating the MILVEHCOE in the state is a major boost, delivering 330 direct jobs. Under the $2.8 billion Australian Industry Content (AIC) commitment for the LAND400 Phase 2 project, $1.8 billion will be spent in Queensland, supporting a supply chain of local companies which will also generate further employment. The Queensland Government believes the MILVEHCOE can be a major catalyst in creating a $7 billion defence industries sector in the state by 2028, which would grow a workforce of 10,000 to support the industry. “After securing this landmark deal, we have been working hard with our stakeholders to position Ipswich and



Queensland to secure even more major defence and manufacturing contracts,” Cameron Dick, Queensland’s Minister for State Development, said after the MILVEHCOE sod turning in November. “Ipswich in particular has a proud history of manufacturing, producing goods ranging from woollen blankets to railway rolling stock production, and defence manufacturing now looms as the next big industry for the region.” One follow-on result from the LAND400 decision is the decision to create a $60 million munitions facility in Maryborough, north of Brisbane. A joint venture between artillery manufacturer NIOA and Rheinmetall, the new factory will create up to 100 jobs in the Maryborough and Fraser Coast region. The consortium partners have been selected to receive a capital allocation of $28.5 million from the

federal government as part of a Commonwealth program to introduce investment in regional locations around Australia. The funding is conditional on final approval of a full business case, which includes receiving additional support from the Queensland Government. The two partners already have a partnership across a range of munitions products, including delivery of Rheinmetall’s future ammunition under the LAND 17 1.C2 program. While the immediate focus of the LAND400 Phase 2 program is to supply vehicles to the ADF, the bigger picture is for the MILVEHCOE to lead the development of an export defence industry based in Queensland. Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has said that the vision is for Queensland to serve as a regional hub for the continuous design, development

and support of up to 5,000 military vehicles in Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific. While centred in Queensland, other states will also contribute to the LAND400 Phase 2 project and enjoy some economic benefits from the balance of $1 billion AIC spending outside of Queensland. One of the first supplier agreements under the program was signed with Victorian company Supacat Asia Pacific in October 2018. Supacat has been contracted to design and manufacturer subsystems for the Boxer CRVs, a deal which will help the company double its engineering workforce. “This is the first contract of approximately 40 local suppliers involved in key acquisition and sustainment activities in the Boxer CRV project,” Minister Christopher Pyne said.



AUSTRALIA RAMPS UP PROTECTION WITH CYBER SECURITY CENTRE The government has recognised the rapidly growing threat of the cyber dimension in Australia and its response has culminated in the creation of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and the new Joint Cyber Security Centre (JCSC) program. By Lachlan Colquhoun.


he internet is where the 21st century world conducts the bulk of its business, and where people increasingly play out their social lives. Electronic systems and digital information are essential for business and families, with most Australians using the web to bank, pay bills, buy and sell goods and stay connected. But while the digital age presents opportunities, this connectivity comes with the risk of exposure to cybercriminal activity and on a national security level, the potential for sabotage. In the defence industry, an expanding supply chain of small and medium sized enterprises are often entrusted with critical intellectual property for major projects, creating another layer of vulnerability. On a national scale, cyber security solutions provider Symantec estimates that one in three Australian adults were victim to some form of cybercrime in 2017, costing the economy more than $2.3 billion.


Australia has had a number of capable agencies responding to the increasing prevalence of cyber security threats, and now the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has been formed as the national lead to combine and coordinate cyber protection.


The ACSC expands the footprint of the government’s $47 million national Joint Cyber Security Program and Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy, and is now part of the Australian Signals Directorate after being integrated in 2018. As part of the governmentcommissioned Independent Intelligence Review of 2017, there was a recognised need to create a single point of advice and support on cyber security, and it was this recommendation that drove the ACSC’s expansion and integration into the Signals Directorate. Following the integration, the ACSC – which was originally formed as a standalone organisation in 2014 – now includes staff from a number of government bodies, such as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Defence Intelligence Organisation. The ACSC’s new website has replaced a number of older government cyber security websites and services, while information and advice on will remain current.


The ACSC mission is to “drive cyber resilience across the whole of the economy, including critical


infrastructure and systems of national interest, federal, state and local governments, small and medium sized business, academia, the not-for-profit sector and the Australian community”. It is a “hub” for private and public sector collaboration and information sharing with the aim of combating threats and minimising harm “to all Australians”. More specifically, the ACSC: • Responds to cyber security threats and incidents as Australia’s computer emergency response team (CERT) • Collaborates with the private and public sectors to share information on threats to increase resilience • Works with governments, industry and the community to increase awareness of cyber security • Provides information, advice and assistance to all Australians The ACSC is based in Canberra and is headed by Alastair MacGibbon, who is also the National Cyber Security Adviser. MacGibbon has deep experience in cyber security in both the public and private sectors, and was Australia’s first e-Safety Commissioner in addition to being a founding director of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre. As head of the ACSC, MacGibbon reports to the Director General of the Australian Signals Directorate, which in turn comes under the Minister for Defence. MacGibbon was a vocal supporter of the government’s cybersecurity and encryption laws, which passed the federal parliament in late 2018 and gave security agencies the right to access encrypted messages. He told delegates at the National



Investigations Symposium in November 2018 that he believed a widespread cyber security failure would be “the greatest existential threat we face as a society today”. “I believe climate change is impacting us, but I’ll say if you’re going to look for a catastrophic event that will impact upon the livelihood of Australians, the lives of Australians and the wellbeing of Australians, it will be a cyber security incident,” MacGibbon said. “The number one crime now affecting Australians, in terms of volume, is cyberenabled crime, and it’s not good enough that we allow that to happen and for us not to fight back.”


While the ACSC is based in the national capital, it also has offices throughout Australia as part of the Joint Cyber Security Centre program, with a new centre opened in Adelaide in 2018. In November 2018, three government ministers covering the portfolios of Defence, Home Affairs and Industry, Science and Technology joined together to welcome the opening of the Adelaide JCSC. “South Australia hosts some of the nation’s most important energy, infrastructure and defence assets,” Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne said at the JCSC opening. “This Centre is crucial to protecting our national assets including the wider defence industry we depend on.” Welcoming the opening of the JCSC, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton emphasised the importance of government working with industry to protect Australian businesses and the community from the increasing threat of cybercrime from “malicious actors and criminal groups”. Through the JCSC, Dutton said Australian businesses and critical infrastructure companies would have “access to a broad range of services

from cyber security experts around the country”. Since it was established in June 2018, the JCSC has attracted a large number of partners keen to take advantage of what is a unique collaboration between all levels of government and industry. Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews pointed out that while the ACSC and related JCSCs were about cyber protection, they are also part of developing a national capability to service a growing global cyber security market, expected to be worth US$250 billion by 2026. The JCSC initiative would, Andrews said, “increase Australia’s export opportunities in the booming global cyber security market”.


An example of the government’s leadership role in Australia’s cyber industry was the December 2018 announcement of an ACSC program for managed service providers (MSPs), an initiative which came after an alleged campaign against them directed from offshore. The ACSC invited MSPs operating in Australia to join its MSP3 program, with the first round of applications closing in April 2019. The initiative came after joint statements from the Five-Eyes nations of the US, UK, Canada, NZ and Australia, identifying a global hacking campaign targeting MSPs known as Cloudhopper. Cloudhopper is believed to have compromised 12 technology companies and MSPs around the world since 2014, and the program is aimed at building a competent security posture and restoring confidence. “The program will support a shared vision for good governance aiming to achieve greater accountability for MSP customers and Australians in general when it comes to managing commercial and sensitive information,” the ACSC statement said.

MSPs that join the program will then become eligible to access services delivered through the new JCSC, including participation in the MSP Partner Forum, a national workshop which provides threat intelligence and identifies recurrent challenges and risks. Another key component in the government’s cybersecurity strategy is the Information Security Manual (ISM), the latest update for which was released by the ACSC in December 2018. The ISM details what it calls the “Essential Eight” strategies for mitigating cyber attacks, which combine with a focus on risk management to advise organisations on the most effective security posture. “We’re pushing the Essential Eight more, absolutely, because we know that’s good advice,” said ACSC head Alastair MacGibbon. Many controls which were previously given the priority of ‘should’ are now a ‘must’ under the new ISM. MacGibbon said there was an “increased responsibility in 2018” on system owners to truly protect their systems through proper risk management. “It is not compliance versus risk. It’s the right type of compliance,” said MacGibbon. “To me, compliance is hygiene, and we need good hygiene because that’s what makes you secure. What makes you more secure is proper risk management on top of good hygiene.” The scope of the chief information security officer (CISO) role is also expanded under the latest ISM. Previously, the CISO was described as setting the “strategic direction” for an agency`s information security, but the 2018 edition of the ISM is more direct: the CISO’s role is to “provide cyber security leadership for their organisation”. CISOs can also look to the ACSC for national leadership in the increasingly critical battle for cyber security.






Under Project SEA2400 Phase 1, the Royal Australian Navy will acquire a new hydrographic survey ship. An invitation has gone out to industry for suitable specialist proposals, which can either be a modified platform or an in-service design. By Lachlan Colquhoun.


ith an extensive coastline and significant international responsibilities in ocean charting and survey, Australia has a well-developed hydrographic capability which has evolved over a long period. The nation’s exclusive economic zone encompasses 10.2 million square kilometres, including the Antarctic territory, while its charting area measures 50 million square kilometres.


At the same time, 66% of Australia’s coastline shallower than 200 metres remains inadequately surveyed. With the Navy’s new amphibious capability and a range of next generational ships, including 12 new submarines, there is increasingly strategic dimension to future survey needs, and these are at the heart of the requirements under Project SEA2400 Phase 1.


The survey capability was identified in the 2016 Defence White Paper, which said Australia needed “an efficient combination of military and commercial hydrographic and oceanographic capabilities”. This required an investment of between $1 billion and $2 billion, which was allocated by the government in the Integrated Investment Plan issued in 2016. The procurement for SEA2400 Phase 1 is being managed by the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) and registrations for expressions of interest closed in February 2018. Currently, the Navy’s hydrographic capability consists of two Leeuwin-class survey ships commissioned in 2000 and four Paluma-class survey motor launches which date from 1991. Under the SEA2400 program, these would be retired from the early 2020s and be replaced by a combination of nextgeneration military and commercial hydrographic and oceanographic assets, potentially including aircraft, which are an important part of the capability. The current hydrographic assets work in co-ordination with the Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS) Flight formed in 1992 after more than 20 years of research and development.


Now deployed from Cairns on a de Havilland Dash 8-202 aircraft operated under contract by global leader in LADS technology the Fugro group, this capability makes the Navy one of the few military organisations in the world to employ Airborne LADS Bathymetry. Fugro has been a longstanding hydrographic partner both for the

Australian Hydrographic Service and the Navy, and has continued to update technology originally developed by the Defence Science and Technology organisation which is still used in the LADS flight. Fugro has used this technology in the search for the missing aircraft MH370 and the successful search for the World War One submarine HMAS AE1, lost off the coast of Papua New Guinea but located in January 2018. At the request of the New Zealand Government, the Navy’s LADS flight also conducted a rapid hydrographic survey of the sea floor off the NZ South Island in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake of November 2016. Under SEA2400 Phase 1, the new hydrographic ship will be required to collect seabed sonar data and water column data, and will also be able to deploy unmanned vehicles for use in the air, underwater and on the surface. SEA2400 Phase 1 also integrated with Project SEA1770 Phase 1, which is for a Rapid Environment Assessment Capability to enhance the direction, collection, processing and dissemination of environmental data, known as Military Geospatial Information (MGI). The purpose of this is to provide a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the physical maritime operating environment and its likely impact on military operations.


One group which has confirmed it has responded to the Navy’s request under SEA2400 is Saab Australia and the BlueZone Group, which have teamed to offer state-of-the-art oceanographic systems. The partners bring together Saab’s system integration capability with BlueZone’s application experience and wide portfolio of leading hydrographic systems around the world. BlueZone Group’s subsidiary UVS has been engaged to supply, integrate and

support sensor suites under SEA1770, and these include tidal, wave and current monitoring systems. These capabilities would in turn be embarked in any survey vessels which would be acquired from the group as part of SEA2400.


Another expression of interest has come from a collaboration between Fremantle-based International Maritime Consultants (IMC) and Norway’s Skipsteknisk AS, and in this case the group is open to working with other shipbuilders. The two companies have entered into a teaming agreement to offer the Skipsteknisk range of hydrographic research vessel designs, bringing together Skipsteknisk’s global research vessel portfolio of in-service designs with IMC’s experience in vessel construction support and compliance. The Skipsteknisk/IMC team’s approach to SEA2400 is to make their reference designs available to program bidders on a non-exclusive basis, giving the Commonwealth maximum flexibility in its choice of supplier and build location. Skipsteknisk has a 25-year track record in delivering sophisticated oceanographic vessel designs. Skipsteknisk managing director Hans Ove Holmoy said: “Skipsteknisk has designed research vessels for customers and shipyards all over the world, providing us with in-service experience and expertise to deliver a high performance, low risk solution to the Commonwealth regardless of where the vessel may be built. “Our noise reduced ST-design research vessels are highly functional, reliable and comfortable working platforms.” IMC is a diversified and independent naval architecture consultancy, and provides expertise in Australian compliance in addition to specialist knowledge of the Australian shipbuilding industry.

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Capability Acquisition & Sustainment Outlook 2019  

Capability Acquisition & Sustainment Outlook 2019

Capability Acquisition & Sustainment Outlook 2019  

Capability Acquisition & Sustainment Outlook 2019