South Australian Minister for Defence Martin Hamilton-Smith has officially launched at the Avalon Airshow a new alliance that aims to reposition local industry on the global stage as rapid changes in technology and business practices take hold across the aerospace industry.
Speaking to a capacity crowd following an Australia-UK Industry Roundtable, Hamilton-Smith said: “It is no secret that Australia is embarking on a period of significant manufacturing transformation. As a nation, we must position ourselves to develop niche, high-value added products that are internationally competitive and linked to global supply chains.”
In an industry that’s rapidly globalising, Hamilton-Smith says that for survival, local businesses need to look beyond the traditional model of relying solely on a single customer: “Instead, we must increase our capability and capacity, and look beyond our national boundaries and actively pursue export opportunities. Initiatives such as the Australian Aerospace Alliance are critical as we embark on this journey.”
The new Australian Aerospace Alliance (AAA) is a collaborative project between the existing Defence Teaming Centre (DTC), industry and the South Australian government. Its resources and capabilities are to be focused on capturing work from the global defence and commercial aerospace sectors through the collective strength, capabilities and innovation of its members.
Given annual production of commercial aircraft is projected to increase by 25 per cent by 2023, Hamilton-Smith said: “This is a real opportunity right on our doorstep.” Drawing on best practices from similar clusters around the world, the new alliance has identified five areas where they can compete in global markets: avionics systems & electronic products, software solutions, autonomous systems, advanced manufacturing and aircraft sustainment.”
But he emphasises that the initiative is not just for SA-based firms. According to Hamilton-Smith, the DTC’s Chris Burns is now looking for national companies to enhance the capability offerings of the initial 20 members of the Alliance.
As such, Hamilton-Smith urges Australian aerospace companies operating in this space to seriously consider membership of the AAA: “The complexities of the global aerospace market – both defence and commercial – are overwhelming. Trying to showcase your capabilities to the right people and find a path into a global supply chain with restricted resources and capacity is difficult.”
“These are the challenges the Aerospace Alliance will tackle. Based in South Australia, the alliance has a national reach and global market outlook. Collaboration is at the heart of the Alliance – multiple companies with different skills working together to fulfil customers’ requirements. A single voice, ‘one-stop shop’ approach is the only way into the global marketplace.”
The AAA aims to generate value-added information by monitoring global technology trends to help its members drive continuous business improvement through skilling and the provision of mentoring services from leading industry experts. Through the alliance, opportunities will be provided to access capabilities other companies can offer, without entering into binding and complex procurement relationships.
Assistance also will be offered in developing new business development strategies sympathetic with the culture of SMEs, so as not to lose the dynamic flexibility of a small-to-medium sized enterprise.