Land Forces 2021 proves a success, despite COVID challenges

Event attendance diverse and enthusiastic

Well, Land Forces 2021 was a huge success, and an indication of how much Australian businesses are keen to get back to face-to-face interaction.

The Brisbane event attracted 12,766 attendances from industry, government and Defence over the three days at the beginning of June, with 718 companies participating and 26 conferences and seminars. The total attendance would very likely have broken records, had the Victorian delegates been able to attend.

Although protesters attempted to interrupt the event, they failed to prevent it from going ahead and from being an important platform in advancing Australia’s industrial and Defence capability. In fact, it had almost the opposite effect by bringing delegates closer together in conversation and connection at one of the largest single industry engagement events anywhere in the world since the onset of the COVID pandemic.

All set… now change plans!

Systematiq was cleared for take-off, with a team of people eagerly anticipating their attendance, armed with client lists, marketing material, and meetings booked. Alas, we were re-routed thanks to COVID and after a bumpy ride, landed safely with a new crew on board who were able to enjoy the event and make as many of our commitments as possible. Luckily, we were able to bring people from ACT, NSW and QLD to attend at the last minute and all were glad to have been able to take part in the showcase of Australian Defence industry and capability.

Andrew Harvey, our Senior Training Systems Consultant said, “It was a real benefit to be able to interact with so many of our current clients after this previous year, and it gave us the ability to meet and speak with potential clients about their needs face-to-face.”

Defence industry alive and well

Proving that the Australian Defence industry is very much alive and well, the Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, and Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr were both in attendance. The strength of support from the Department of Defence as well as the participation by all State and Territory Governments were welcomed by the industry.

There were many important Defence industry announcements, not just in land programs, but air and sea programs as well. New platforms were on display, particularly the Hanwha and Rheinmetall vehicles. MOUs were signed with SMEs to support Australian Industry Capability delivery in major programs- particularly Land 8710 (next generation army amphibious vessel project), Land 125 and Land 400 programs, among others including the C4Edge Consortium, and Boeing’s Project Currawong (battlespace communications system).

The C4Edge program stands for Command, Control, Communications and Computing Evolutionary Digital Ground Environment program. EOS Defence Systems is leading the consortium of SMEs in the development of this tactical communications system which will go into its final testing phase by the end of this year.

EOS also unveiled its new Titanis counter unmanned aerial system (C-UAS) which was developed to mitigate the growing risk of unmanned aircraft on the battlefield. The system was modelled from their R-series remote weapon system with additional command and control, sensing and combat capabilities. It will be able to engage directly with drones and according to EOS Defence Systems’ Justin Olde, “Titanis is the most flexible and cost effective response to this emerging asymmetric threat.”

New technology developments were showcased in particularly innovative and interactive displays. Integrated Soldier System platforms and capabilities; cyber and satellite programs; robotics and autonomous systems were all just some of the huge array of capabilities present.

Partnerships and collaboration

One of the key elements that is unique to the Defence industry landscape was the evidence at the event of so many large primes being in both competition and collaboration through teaming arrangements. This demonstrates the strong community of passionate professionals that is underpinning Australia’s security and Defence framework.

It also highlights what a vibrant, connected industry we have here in Australia. Our Systematiq team were impressed by how many SMEs were on display and engaging with Primes. The event demonstrated the importance of empowering the local SME supply chain and providing a forum for these formal and informal discussions to take place.

Mandy Middlemist, our NSW/ACT Business Development Manager commented, “I was impressed with the variety of technology and the accessibility for SMEs to interact with larger primes. The strengthening of our AIC supply chains as well as future proofing our local manufacturing industries was truly evident.”

While the Systematiq team were able to pivot and respond to the rapidly changing situation, making many important connections and holding great conversations at Land Forces 2021, we all agreed that we look forward to a little more certainty in the coming months. Hopefully the next big industry event on the calendar, Avalon 2021 will go ahead without a hitch and we can continue to engage advance our vibrant Australian Industry Capability.