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Globally competitive defence industry

Australia is building a robust, resilient and globally-competitive defence industry. It exports innovative defence technologies to key global partners and supports an agile and capable Australian Defence Force (ADF).

We supply components to international defence programs. And global defence contractors invest in Australian defence technology and advanced manufacturing. It exports innovative defence technologies to key global partners and supports an agile and capable Australian Defence Force (ADF). Our modern defence industry is built on:

  • an expanding defence budget. This includes plans to double the size of the combat surface fleet
  • participation in global defence programs, including the F-35 and the AUKUS submarine program
  • priority investment in defence technologies, to help build sovereign capabilities.

With our defence industries growing quickly, Australian startups are creating their own defence solutions – and exporting them.

Australia welcomes strategic partners to help us build a strong defence industry and  pursue export opportunities. Investors benefit from:

 

  • a highly skilled workforce, with expertise in advanced manufacturing
  • major acquisition programs, including in shipbuilding and land systems
  • government support for critical technologies  
  • strong export opportunities with major allies and regional partners
  • effective collaboration between academia, government and industry, including through the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA) . Leading international companies also have a significant presence in the Australian defence market including: BAE Systems Australia, Thales Australia Limited, Hanwha Defense Australia, Rheinmetall Defence Australia and Boeing Defence Limited.

Australia is a trusted supplier of defence equipment and technology. Australian content contributes to some the world’s most technologically advanced defence programs.

Our small to medium enterprises are globally competitive and successful.  Veteran owned The Whiskey Project Group is selling tactical watercraft to the US Marine Corps and SpEE3d’s automated Cold Spray Additive Manufacturing solution is being exported globally including the UK, the US, Japan and Ukraine.

How we can help

Events

Each year, Australia holds 3 key defence events covering land, air and sea. They are:

  • Land Forces 2024 will be held in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Victoria from the 11-13th of September 2024.
  • Avalon 2025 will be held in Avalon Airport, Victoria from 25th -28th of March 2025.
  • Indo Pacific International Maritime Exhibition will be held in the International Convention Centre, Sydney from the 4th-6th of November 2025. For reference, here is the IPIME 2023 event.

All 3 events brings together key domestic and international players in defence including industry, government, and academia of all level to meet, do business and discuss the opportunities and challenges.

Austrade works closely with Australia's Department of Defence to support Team Defence Australia events at significant defence trade shows around the world. Team Defence Australia is the premier national platform for export-capable Australian defence and dual-use companies, to showcase their goods, services, technology and solutions to a global audience.

Incentives, grants and support

Investors can access funding opportunities for defence-related initiatives in Australia.

  • The Government will invest $3.4 billion over the next decade to establish the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA). The accelerator launched in July 2023. It will expedite acquisitions from the private sector and research institutions. ASCA priorities include hypersonics, directed energy, trusted autonomy, quantum technology, information warfare and long-range fires. It will receive A$748 in funding up to 2028.
  • As part of the Defence Industry Development Strategy (DIDS) released in February 2024, the Government will invest A$183.8 million in grants to support small and medium businesses. This includes the new Defence Industry Development Grant Program – It will comprise 4 streams to support industrial capability and capacity in areas of strategic priority, export opportunities for defence industry, upskilling the defence industry workforce and improve industry’s security accreditation in line with the Defence Industry Security Program.

Snapshot


Defence in Australia

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Spending

Spending by Australia’s Department of Defence contributed $10.6 billion to the Australian economy in 2022–23, an increase of 4.1%.

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Employment

Australian defence industries employed over 64,000 people in 2022-23, up 6.3%.

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Major ongoing procurements

AUKUS nuclear propelled submarine project, 20 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and 129 Redback infantry fighting vehicles.

  • Australia has bi-partisan support for major upgrades to defence capabilities. Strategic relationships include ‘Five Eyes’ partners (the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand and the Quad (a diplomatic network with Japan, the United States and India).
  • Strategy priorities include A$9 billion for the AUKUS submarine program, A$4.1 billion for long-range strike capabilities, A$3.8 billion for our northern base infrastructure and $900 million on defence innovation.
  • In addition to  submarines, AUKUS partners are collaborating in 6 areas: advanced cyber, artificial intelligence and autonomy, quantum technologies, undersea warfare, electronic warfare, and hypersonics/counter-hypersonics.
  • The recent release of strategic documents such as the 2023 National Defence: Defence Strategic Review, 2024 National Defence Strategy and 2024. The Defence Industrial Defence Strategy provides a comprehensive outline  for defence planning and resourcing to 2032–33 and beyond.
  • In 2023, Australia identified key critical national security technologies vital to the national interest. These include technologies applicable for defence applications such as additive manufacturing, advanced composite materials and quantum computing.

Our national science agency CSIRO has expertise in defence research spanning early development to testing. Its projects include the Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies, the Artificial Intelligence roadmapBluelink ocean forecasting, and DARPA Challenge. Other organisations include:

 

  • The Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG): creates opportunities for partnerships between industry, academia and government. DSTG focus areas include surveillance and space technologies; chemical, biological and radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defence, robotics and automation and cyber.
  • The Australian Defence Science and Universities Network (ADSUN): aids collaboration between organisations and agencies in our defence ecosystem.
  • ADSUN members include the Defence Science Centre (Western Australia), Defence Innovation Network (NSW), Queensland Defence Science Alliance, Defence Innovation Partnership (South Australia and NT), and the Defence Science Institute (Victoria and Tasmania).   
  • Trusted Autonomous Systems (TAS): Australia’s first Defence Cooperative Research Centre.
  • Defence Trailblazer: a new body led by the University of Adelaide and UNSW that aims to transform the way researchers and industry work together to solve real-world defence problems. The Australian Government and university partners are each investing $50m with an expected $140m from industry. Its aim is to deliver 100 new defence technologies over four years.
  • Security & Defence PLuS: is an academic research and educational collaboration between the University of NSW (UNSW), King’s College London and Arizona State University (ASU). It is aimed at advancing the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The collaboration provides independent, original knowledge and understanding of national and global security issues and serves as a keystone in the PLuS Alliance, a trilateral partnership between King's, ASU and UNSW aimed at solving pressing educational and societal challenges.