quote Admiral Sir Anthony Synnot our defence force must not be closely tailored to meet a spe cific situation II must be versatile Our force needs to include many capabilities ....'), and be cause of the national Australian characteristic of small number of manpower, this country will need to acquire the most effective manpower utilisation equipment which will normally, although not necessarily, invoke advanced technologies
Australia's defence equipment inventory will incorporate a wide range of technologies in small numbers of actual hardware. The commercial feasibility of extensive industry involvement in Defence Research and Development sustained by minimal follow-on production must be assessed as very low.
When it is understood that the Australian Telecommunications Commission (Telecom), the largest buyer of technology-oriented equipment in Australia, sources technology from overseas but. for the large quantity and/or critical network items, insists on local licence manufacture to ensure indigenous industrial support, it should become clear that the emphasis has to be shifted towards production to ensure support rather than Research and Development.
The talented resources available m-house in the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation are funded by the taxpayer and exist for the purpose of carrying out research and development into unique Australian military problems, of assisting the single-service user in evaluation and acquisition of technology equipment and setting up for its in-country support The transfer of any part of this valuable military resource into local industry could well result in its diminution over the long term if it were not able to be maintained as a justifiable commercial undertaking, a real possibility in the peaks and troughs of the Australian Defence market place.
The Defence requirement for self-reliant industrial support is to repair and replace military equipment. Industry's capability to effect timely repairs is significantly enhanced by its participation in the original manufacture occasioned by access and familiarity with documentation, test procedures etc; more importantly, local industry's capability to effect timely equipment replacement will always remain at a low-level if it has not played a significant part in the initial manufacture, ideally by phased-in assumption of total responsibility over the period of the project.
The Hamer Committee Report must be seen in perspective, their enquiry being now some 2-3 years previous. It is fair to say that, at that time. Defence Industry structure in the Australian Government was still recovering from a senes of significant re-organisational steps. In recent times however, there have been some very encouraging signs, maybe as a result of the Hamer Committee findings, that the importance of a Defence Industry manufacturing capability is being realised.
— naval shipbuilding contracts being let to Aus tralian yards
Patrol Boats to NQEA in Queensland Landing Ship (Heavy) to Carnngton Slipway in Newcastle, and the AOR to Vickers Cockatoo Ltd. in Sydney
unpublicised but intended rationalisation of the electronics industry with the award of significant H.F. communications equipment contracts to 2 Australian companies involving meaningful and substantial local participation in original equipment manufacture.
establishment of the Katter Parliamentary Sub-Committee to enquire into the Defence procurement processes which hitherto have created difficulties for industry.
Perhaps, in the future. Industry could play an even more meaningful role in the support of Australia s intended exercise of maritime power by increased participation in project management incorporating systems design and integration, so much of which is conducted in-house at present The balanced-force concept of Australian Defence, particularly in the maritime field, will mean the continued acquisition of a wide variety of capabilities and skills which in turn means a large number of projects always in the system Advancing technologies will increasingly stretch the ability of in-house service resources to cope with the requirements of project and systems management which will become more demanding of high level technical and managerial resources
A planned process of divestment of these responsibilities to a rationalised industry with continuity of loading could provide significant benefits for industrial support for Australia's maritime power, and by the creation and consolidation of complementary skills, enhance the prospects for Australia to become involved as an important maritime partner with its rapidly developing regional neighbours.