Australia/UK — Defence Ministers visit Adelaide

The Min­is­ter for Defence, Stephen Smith, and the Min­is­ter for Defence Sci­ence and Per­son­nel, War­ren Snow­don, were today pleased to host the UK Sec­re­tary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, on a vis­it to Defence facil­i­ties and defence indus­try in Ade­laide.

The Min­is­ters vis­it­ed BAE Sys­tems Aus­tralia, the Air War­fare Destroy­er (AWD) facil­i­ties and the Defence Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Organ­i­sa­tion (DSTO). Mr Smith said today’s vis­it reflects Defence’s intent to work more close­ly with the UK on defence sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy and pro­cure­ment.

“Aus­tralia and the UK can ben­e­fit from our defence indus­try rela­tion­ship and from greater col­lab­o­ra­tion on the pro­cure­ment of sim­i­lar defence capa­bil­i­ties,” Mr Smith said.

At BAE, the group received a com­pre­hen­sive brief­ing from the Chief Exec­u­tive, Mr Jim McDow­ell, and vis­it­ed BAE’s Joint Strike Fight­er tita­ni­um machin­ing facil­i­ties. Mr Smith said, “Our vis­it to BAE today pro­vid­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to high­light the impor­tance of the rela­tion­ships between BAE Plc and BAE Sys­tems to the Defence Forces of both coun­tries.

BAE is our biggest defence con­trac­tor and is involved in sup­port­ing Defence across every indus­try sec­tor, includ­ing the $8 bil­lion AWD project, ship repair and main­te­nance in West­ern Aus­tralia; air­craft main­te­nance and sup­port at Williamtown and Nowra in NSW, and Oakey and Townsville in Queens­land.

BAE is also doing impor­tant work on vehi­cle mod­i­fi­ca­tions at Ban­di­ana in Vic­to­ria; and elec­tron­ic war­fare sys­tems devel­op­ment and sup­port in Ade­laide,” Mr Smith said.

The Min­is­ters also vis­it­ed the ASC Ship­yard and new Air War­fare Destroy­er (AWD) Sys­tems Cen­tre at Tech­port Aus­tralia. The ASC ship­yard is one of the sites con­struct­ing hull blocks for the AWDs.

Opened in Decem­ber last year, the new AWD Sys­tems Cen­tre is the head­quar­ters of the AWD project and work­place for over 300 peo­ple from the AWD alliance.

Mr Smith said, “The facil­i­ties at Tech­port for the Air War­fare Destroy­er project are impres­sive and demon­strate both the com­mit­ment of the South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment and the excel­lent coop­er­a­tion between the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors on a key nation­al project.”

At DSTO, the Min­is­ters received in-depth brief­in­gs on a range of promis­ing tech­nolo­gies that can be expect­ed to make a real dif­fer­ence for our troops in the­atre and for the ADF’s future capa­bil­i­ties.

Mr Snow­don said they were shown sev­er­al exam­ples where UK and Aus­tralian sci­en­tists and researchers have worked togeth­er to solve future capa­bil­i­ty and cur­rent oper­a­tions issues.

Some exam­ples include advanced work on coun­ter­ing the effects of impro­vised explo­sive devices, coun­ter­ing elec­tro-optic threats, col­lab­o­rat­ing on armour tech­nol­o­gy for vehi­cles and work­ing on hyper­son­ic tech­nolo­gies. Aus­tralia also gained per­for­mance infor­ma­tion and tech­ni­cal knowl­edge from suc­cess­ful UK tri­als of non-lethal weapons at Woomera.

“Among the mat­ters dis­cussed was the poten­tial for our two nations to inter­op­er­ate in the sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy domains, includ­ing future shar­ing of research facil­i­ties and staff.

“Our sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy coop­er­a­tion pro­vides the Aus­tralian Defence Force with a lead­ing capa­bil­i­ty edge, whilst achiev­ing val­ue for mon­ey for the defence bud­get,” Mr Snow­don said.

As part of the vis­it, wreaths will be laid at the Nation­al War Memo­r­i­al by Mr Smith and Dr Fox.

Media Con­tacts:
Jim Can­non (Min­is­ter Smith): 0434 160 551
Alice Plate (Min­is­ter Snow­don): 0400 045 999
Defence Media Oper­a­tions: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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