Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR July-Aug 2017 Contents Asia Pacific Defence Reporter JULY/AUG 2017 35
SAAB AUSTRALIA MANAGING DIRECTOR, DEAN ROSENFIELD
This year Saab celebrates thirty years in Australia.
I’ve been here for half the journey, the past five years
as Managing Director. Our identity is borne out of a
proven Naval Combat Systems Engineering practice
that is uniquely Australian and is the only proven
capability in our industry. Combat systems engineering
is concerned with the entire lifecycle (design;
development; integration; test and acceptance;
and support/maintenance) not just integration. You
need that knowledge and experience to have a true
sovereign capability, a capability that is exportable and
competitive on a world scale.
We’re currently busy designing and developing
variations and evolutions of the 9LV Combat
Management System for Australia’s replenishment
ships, future frigates and offshore patrol vessels;
upgrading the ANZACs; providing ongoing support for
Collins; and getting ready to support Lockheed Martin
with SEA 1000 as a member of their combat system
team. We’re also upgrading Army’s sense and warn
radar protection system and supporting BAE Systems’
LAND 400 combat reconnaissance vehicle solution.
These skills are transferable to other sectors.
We created a civil security business based on our
combat systems engineering skills by developing
a product called OneViewTM winning our first
contract in 2009. OneViewTM is now established
in more than thirty large-scale installations across
Australia and New Zealand.
The government’s Defence White Paper and
Industry Investment Plan has given us confidence
to invest long term. With budget certainty and
a commitment from the Australian Government
recognising local industry as a fundamental input
to capability - we can plan for the future and
the development of Australian SMEs. We made a
commitment to building a local industry thirty years
ago; this Government commitment has reenergised
confidence to invest for the next thirty years.
If the government is serious, I believe it needs to
start enforcing contract terms on Australian industry
content. It should be written into contracts and
companies should be held to it. Companies who
can’t commit to their plans deserve to lose their profit.
Maximising local industry supports the economy and
ensures the right skills are always on hand. In this
business, you need to be responsive.
Our growth will be in combat systems engineering;
supporting our 9LV combat management system as a
product across the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet. Its
efficacy is already evident in Australia’s frigates, LHDs
and the replenishment ships. It’s been one of Australia’s
most successful defence technology systems and it’s
future-engineered to cater for the ever-increasing
interoperability requirements of customers around
the world. Designing and developing in-country,
collaboratively with your customer provides the true
advantage of flexibility and responsiveness.
Our cyber security business is achieving a healthy
organic growth domestically. I expect this to be
quite substantial in the future. It adds another arm
to the business with defence, government and
commercial prospects, as no industry is immune to
I believe in Australia’s defence industry. That’s why
we’ve taken the opportunity to invest in our facilities,
staff and future workforce through STEM, University
and TAFE partnership programs. Australia is a high
cost economy and the only way to compete globally is
to be the best at delivering high technology solutions.
That takes time and it’s why you need to continually
invest in skills development.
We need to stop the pattern of building then
dumping. We need a long term plan as we have
seen with the continuous build initiative that supports
industry, maintaining a core set of skills that will serve
the nation long term and not just a program.
I believe the economic and technological benefit
that our industry can reap from exports is huge. We
are collaborating with CEA Technologies to provide
a combat system for Canada worth $1.5 billion -$2
billion. We need to pursue international opportunities
to prove to our customers we are competitive and they
are getting value for money.
Defence technology has a lot to offer the broader
economy, too. OneViewTM grew from our 9LV combat
management system, with endless potential across
various commercial and government applications.
It was created because we have the capability to
design and build things from first principles right here
Future graduates want exciting, long-term careers
jobs that are entrepreneurial and will survive the
technological age. Integrating commercial or military
- off-the-shelf systems doesn’t develop long-term
skills—anyone can use an Allen Key and a set of
designs to put something together. We’ve proven
we’re beyond that with 9LV. We didn’t establish a
build to print facility thirty years ago; we transferred
the knowledge and skills to establish our own
sovereign capability. You can’t take that off the shelf.
That is what’s going to keep Saab at the forefront
of technology and attract students to the industry to
maintain a Sovereign capability.
Australia shouldn’t have to depend on a global
supply chain for its capabilities. Saab Australia is
evidence Australian industry has the skills to design
and develop cost effective solutions. We established
the business thirty years ago to deliver a world class
Anzac frigate solution. We have continued to invest
and evolve that capability developing new applications
with new technologies for new markets - all from
Australia. We are here for the long haul.
Saab Australia Managing Director, Dean Rosenfield
The government’s Defence White Paper and Industry Investment
Plan has given us confidence to invest long term.
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