The australian naval institute


Page 18 — Journal or rhe Ausrrahan Naval insMure



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Page 18 — Journal or rhe Ausrrahan Naval insMure

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.
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