By Sascha Sinclair

Industry and Defence join forces

IndoPacific 2023, held at the Conference Centre in Sydney was by all accounts another successful event. Over the three days, the expo saw over 27,000 attendees from 52 nations – including over 13% international visitors and delegations from 46 nations.

VADM Mark Hammond AO, RAN, Chief of Navy Australia observed, “The unrivalled and unprecedented collection of more than 800 industry participants has given us a window into the future of maritime warfare, including uncrewed systems, new lethal technology and new thinking about warfare under the sea, on the sea and in the air above.

The defence and maritime industry was on full display, with opportunities to showcase the latest in surface and sub-surface technological advancements that will hopefully form capability solutions to support our naval fleet. VADM Hammond stressed how important Australia’s dependence on a safe maritime environment is to our economy and fabric of society: “We owe our economic prosperity to the sea. We have an annual import-export trade of about $900 billion per year that comes and goes by sea.”

We have an absolute economic dependence upon the sea. We import nearly 80 per cent of our liquid fuel with very low strategic reserves and limited refinery capability. Access to the sea is an existential issue. I firmly believe we should take steps to assure it. That means a very strong maritime capability, and in my lane, a very strong Navy,” VADM Hammond explains.

Recognising this fundamental strategic and tactical reality, the government’s Defence Strategic Review, released in late-April 2023, plans to fundamentally reshape the Royal Australian Navy. The DSR highlighted the necessity to overhaul the Navy’s surface fleet in order to deliver “An enhanced lethality surface combatant fleet, that complements a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine fleet, which is now essential given our changed strategic circumstances.”

The DSR stated, “Australia’s Navy must be optimised for operating in Australia’s immediate region and for the security of our sea lines of communication and maritime trade.”

Hopefully the Royal Australian Navy’s planned “short, sharp” review into the constitution of its force structure to support the delivery of the nation’s new defence posture of “impactful projection” will be released without delay so industry can pivot to mobilise and deliver on our nation’s requirements. As we saw last week, industry is ready to deliver on those needs.

Innovation on display

Displays from all the large maritime Primes as well as a number of advanced manufacturers and suppliers demonstrating innovative technology focusing on autonomous and unmanned solutions, littoral support, and missile systems.

Sentinel Boats demonstrated their autonomous capabilities with their Sentinel 1250 on display that is being delivered to the NZ Navy. George McGuire, CEO of Sentinel Boats commented on the benefit of attendance from a manufacturer’s perspective: “The benefit of being at Indo Pacific for us is the engagement with clients and other businesses. You would never get a concentration in Australia of navies as well as maritime users in one place – Indo Pacific brings all of them together.”

For Systematiq, is it always an opportunity to connect with our clients, our partners, our defence industry colleagues and friends, and broaden our perspective on the industry in the context of the current complex geopolitical environment, and challenges to our nation’s budget priorities.

Erin O’Brien, our BD and Sales Manager, commented: “IndoPac is really important for us, as it gives us a chance to deepen our relationships with face-to-face meetings, understand our clients’ challenges and priorities, and hopefully provide solutions for them. Oh, and we get to see some amazing displays with Australia on the international stage, which is pretty cool.”

With that in mind, we look forward to our follow up conversations and moving into our planning for the coming year with a clearer view of the horizon with regards to our defence maritime projects. Get in touch with one of our sales team to discuss your defence project so we can move your business forward