@AVNHQ Business Bulletin, 17 December 2020

By Leo D’Angelo Fisher

Top stories in @AVNHQ Business:

  • Innovation drives Armoured Fighting Vehicle facility revamp in three states

  • Program equips shipbuilders for the “digital shipyard” of the future

  • BAE recruits former Jetstar aviation technicians

Innovation drives Armoured Fighting Vehicle facility revamp in three states


A joint venture between engineering and infrastructure companies Aurecon and AECOM is set to commence construction of stage-one of new facilities to support the maintenance and training requirements of the Australian Army’s next-generation Armoured Fighting Vehicle fleet.


Located at Puckapunyal Military Area (Victoria), Lavarack Barracks (Townsville, Queensland) and Edinburgh Defence Precinct (Adelaide), the facilities will support the fleet’s combat reconnaissance, infantry fighting, main battle tank and armoured engineering vehicles until 2050.


Aurecon Australasia Managing Director, Defence and National Security, David Barnes, says the joint venture’s collaborative approach to innovation has been key to being chosen to design one of Australia’s most significant defence infrastructure projects.


“Our combined national team’s thinking has provided the Australian Defence Force with truly fit-for-purpose facilities that will support the mission readiness of the Army for many years to come,” Barnes says.


“Given the dispersed nature of the project, the scale of the designs required, the tight timeframe and the fact that we are dealing with Defence bases that have facilities of various ages these capabilities were invaluable.”


AECOM defence industry director Andrew McDougall says the facilities have been designed to cater to the ambiguity of future vehicle requirements.


“The flexibility of our design means that Defence can upgrade its facilities in stages and adapt them accordingly,” he says.


Program equips shipbuilders for the “digital shipyard” of the future


South Australia’s Flinders University has won the 2020 Training and Mentorship Program of the Year for its Diploma of Digital Technologies in the Defence Connect Australian Defence Industry Awards.


The diploma – developed in collaboration with ASC Shipbuilding, BAE Systems Australia and TAFE SA – was designed to bring Industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing capabilities to the Hunter-class frigates program in Adelaide’s new “digital shipyard”, which will deliver nine Hunter-class frigates to the Royal Australian Navy over the next three decades. (The so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, refers to the latest advances in the automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices using “smart” digital technology.)


Launched in March 2020, the diploma forms the basis of a program to “upskill” 51 shipbuilders from ASC and BAE, equipping them with digital skills for modern shipbuilding, including advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, digital design, cyber-physical systems, robotics and automation.


Professor of Innovation at Flinders University’s College of Science and Engineering and director of the Diploma of Digital Technologies program, Dr Giselle Rampersad, says the award highlights the successful partnership between university, industry and government and the importance of Australian organisations being able to use digital technologies to boost sovereign manufacturing capacity.


“We plan to expand the program to include SMEs and organisations from a broad range of sectors, from defence to manufacturing, health, energy and construction, which will also benefit from digital upskilling, a key skill in the economic recovery and beyond,” Rampersad says.


Flinders University was also a finalist in two other categories at the Australian Defence Industry Awards: Veteran Support Program of the Year for its Military Academic Pathways Program and Academic Institution of the Year.

BAE recruits former Jetstar aviation technicians


Twenty-five aviation technicians, including apprentices, who lost their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19 on the commercial aviation industry, have been employed by BAE Systems Australia to work on military aircraft.


The former Jetstar employees will be based at Williamtown in NSW and their skills will be used to support the Hawk Lead-In-Fighter jet trainer aircraft and the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

BAE Systems plays a key role in supporting the F-35 advanced fighter aircraft in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

BAE Systems also supports the 33-strong Australian fleet of Hawk Mk 127 lead-in fighters used to train pilots for combat aircraft such as the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

BAE Systems Australia CEO Gabby Costigan says the recruitment of the technicians will enhance critical technical capabilities in the Hunter region in support of the defence industry.

“The defence industry can be an important economic catalyst, particularly with our increasing emphasis on developing Australian expertise and ensuring Australian industry is key to our supply chain,” Costigan says.


“Over the next five years we expect to grow our Williamtown workforce significantly to support Australia’s growing F-35 fleet.

“The addition of 25 specialists to our workforce will ensure that we can continue to develop, grow and retain critical aerospace capabilities.”

Leo D'Angelo Fisher is a regular columnist and Editor-at-Large at Australian Veteran News. Connect with him on Twitter: @DAngeloFisher.