Main content

A globally competitive defence industry

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

Global defence contractors are investing in Australian defence technologies and advanced manufacturing. This helps Australian companies supply components to international defence programs. Our modern defence industry is built on:

  • expanding defence budget, which 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. SpEE3d’s automated Cold Spray Additive Manufacturing solution is being exported globally including to 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:

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.

Snapshot


Defence in Australia

money
Spending

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

groups
Employment

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

helicopter
Major ongoing procurements

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

Australia has bi-partisan support for major upgrades to defence capabilities.

In 2023, Australia identified key critical national security technologies vital to the national interest. These include technologies 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:

  • Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG): creates opportunities for partnerships between industry, academia and government. Focus areas include surveillance and space technologies; chemical, biological and radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defence, robotics and automation and cyber.
  • Australian Defence Science and Universities Network (ADSUN): helps 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. 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, with 100 new defence technologies over 4 years.
  • Security & Defence PLuS: 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.