One of the largest defence industry events held

While Covid continues to hamper our business-as-usual and infects many individuals across the country despite our best efforts at protection, the Defence industry was eager to make a return to one of the most popular gatherings on the calendar.

The INDO PACIFIC 2022 International Maritime Exposition was held at the Convention Centre on Darling Harbour Sydney from 10-12 May and featured a record 736 participating exhibitor companies – the largest turnout in the event’s 20-year history.

By all accounts, it is believed to be one of the largest defence industry events ever held in Australia, with more than 25,000 visitor attendances recorded over the three days, which is a 12 per cent increase in 2019. Military delegations from more than 40 nations came together to discuss regional concerns and share the latest innovations and industry developments.

The event organiser, ADMA Foundation, hosted more than 70 conferences, symposia, and presentations, including the Royal Australian Navy’s Sea Power Conference, King-Hall Naval History Conference and Sailors’ Forum. There were 115 official defence, industry, academic and government delegations, bringing together all aspects of the industry and supply chain.

Chris Macfarlane, Head of Industry Programs Group at the AMDA Foundation commented, “INDO PACIFIC 2022 was a fully subscribed event for us and having so many participating companies has demonstrated the desire to get back to in-person networking. I was also really pleased to see so many SMEs attend the show, getting back to engaging in business and working together. We are looking forward to hosting a similar event in Land Forces later in the year.”

Australia’s Minister of Defence, Peter Dutton and the Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price were both in attendance, along with the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN.

Vice Admiral Noonan said Indo-Pacific 2022 was an opportunity to discuss maritime security and issues of strategic importance with international friends and like-minded partners, the Defence industry and academia.

“It’s great to see so many navies and defence industry businesses have been able to attend Indo-Pacific 2022, which is the first maritime conference of this scale in Australia since the COVID-19 pandemic,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

“Nothing can beat face-to-face engagement and the relationships it forges.”

“The Indo-Pacific is home to 60 per cent of the world’s population – we come from a great diversity of nations and cultures, but we share a commonality of purpose,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

“Indo-Pacific 2022 will also be a great opportunity to work closely with defence industry businesses,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

“Navy people rely on quality, technologically advanced capabilities to do their jobs now and in the future. This requires collaboration, innovation and strong, productive relationships across defence, industry, and government.”

Forum for industry engagement and announcements

Systematiq’s Business Development and Marketing team were out in full force, pressing the flesh and connecting with key customers to discuss existing projects and new opportunities.

Brydon Johnson observed: “As always it is so much more rewarding to be able to meet and discuss in person what’s going on in the industry, what’s new, and who’s doing what. You are able to pick up on the nuances, and have sidebar conversations that haven’t been possible these last couple of years.”

Another highlight was the opportunity to take part in various networking events, and formal and informal gatherings to hear special announcements across the industry including program selections, new products and technologies, and government announcements:

On Wednesday, Electro Optic Systems (EOS) Australia launched its R400 Marine (R400-M) remote weapon station (RWS). The marine RWS differs from the company’s range of Land R400 RWS through the inclusion of high-quality sub-components and finishes that comply with all specific requirements, regulations, and test standards of the maritime environment.

The Commonwealth announced its plan to supply the R400-M remote weapon station as Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) for the Army’s new Littoral Manoeuvre Vessel – Medium capability, being acquired through LAND 8710.

Speaking at the launch event, Matt Jones, CEO, EOS Defence Systems (Australia) outlined the decisive R400-M advantages that are now available in both maritime and land combat.

“The R400-M, the latest version of the operationally proven R400 RWS family, offers customers the firepower and specialist ammunition natures possible for weapons up to and including 30mm cannon, but in the weight and form factor of competitors’ machine gun systems.

“We are proud that the R400-M has been selected for LAND 8710. The system is equally effective at countering drone threats and more conventional maritime adversaries. EOS’ family of RWS has long provided customers with many advantages including superior range, accuracy, and firepower”, Jones concluded.

Another significant announcement was made by Tasmanian advanced manufacturing company PFG with the unveiling of their new high-speed, high-tech military and law enforcement boat, the Sentinel.

They were thrilled to announce the signed contract with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to design and construct next-generation oil recovery vessels to be delivered to Brisbane and Darwin.

Madeleine Ogilvie, Minister for Advanced Manufacturing and Defence Industries, said the latest in the Sentinel range brings enhanced capability, speed and safety to the table, securing PFG’s position as an innovative defence industry manufacturer.

“An example of Tasmanian innovation and craftsmanship, the new generation Sentinels mark just one more step in the significant rise in Tasmania’s reputation for providing bespoke, fit-for-purpose solutions to defence hardware needs,” the Minister said in a media statement.

The latest Sentinel, the 1100 model, is expected to be a front-runner in the Australian Defence Force’s next tactical watercraft tender and has already piqued the interest of defence customers all around the world, having been selected by the NZDF for its littoral manoeuvre craft capability.

Systematiq’s team benefit from the event

Australia’s Defence industry is attracting some serious attention from foreign governments, militaries, and global Primes, especially from our regional neighbours. Presentations and Capability Demonstrations were held by Boeing, Leidos, BAE and Thales, to name a few, along with the State Governments of NSW, Victoria and Queensland having prominent displays and events. The close working relationship and shared interests were evident by the warm welcome received by the New Zealand Trade Enterprise at their hosted breakfast.

A bonus was the opportunity to observe firsthand a vibrant and innovative sector that was clearly glad to get back to some business-as-usual and a reminder that it is teeming with extremely bright and capable men and women across many disciplines, both in and out of uniform.

Systematiq’s Regional Manager for ACT and NSW, Andrew Harvey commented, “Attending Indo Pac this year broadened both my professional and personal understanding of the Maritime space and expanded my network.”

Systematiq’s newest member of the Business Development team, Erin O’Brien, also enjoyed the experience: “Indo Pacific gave me the opportunity to reconnect with old colleagues and gain a valuable insight into the direction of the Naval industry as a whole.”

Well done to the ADMA Foundation and we look forward to participating again next year.