Australian is increasing as an importer of major arms, with the majority coming from the US. Many do not recognise that Australia is also a large exporter of arms. Australia has many private, often multinational, sales driven corporations competing in the production of arms. Corporations such as Thales, Raytheon and BAE systems work closely with the ADF to provide technologically advanced weaponry and security solutions to allow for better defence capabilities. This paper will discuss the arms sector of Australia and the recent increase in spending. In particular this paper will look at BAE systems and how they advance their objectives in Australia.
Australia’s spending on arms imports and military equipment has surged in recent years. Australia has grown to “become the sixth largest importer of armaments, increasing its acquisitions by 65% between 2010 and 2014, compared with the four previous years”1. According to the Guardian, 68% of these imports are coming from the US. Imports from the US include fighter and transport aircraft, helicopters, shadow drones, air to air missiles, and also in recent years Australia has acquired arms and equipment from France, Germany, Spain, Britain and leased Heron drones from Israel2. Large private organisations are also manufacturing arms on home soil. There is, however, little business in selling to the public due to strict gun laws. Corporations in the Australian Arms sector primarily deal with the ADF but there is a substantial export industry in Australia and according to a report in 20043, exports amounted to over $593 million in that year alone. One such corporation is BAE Systems who is one of the largest defence contractors in Australia. BAE systems was formed in Australia in 1961 as the British Aircraft Corporation until 1999 when it became BAE systems and significantly increased in size in 2008 when it acquired Tennix Defence4. BAE systems primary aim is to gain contracts through the ADF and there are two ways the corporation does this. First of all, BAE systems aligns itself with defence in such ways as the current scheme to provide screening and training for pilots. Secondly, BAE systems uses the fact they provide local jobs and utilise Australian networks to influence political decisions in order to succeed in bids for new contracts.
BAE systems primary aim is to make itself valuable to Defence and therefore guarantee a larger share of the arms market. The company works to tailor its products for the Australian defence market and they have manufactured the Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock based on the Australian Navy’s request for an amphibious assault ship. BAE systems, partnered with Patria, are currently in the process of biding to partner with the Army to replace its fleet of light armoured vehicles (ASLAV’s) with its own 8x8 armoured vehicle design, which was specifically designed for Australia’s Land Force5. Specially designing military solutions for the unique requirements of the ADF allows BAE systems to become a significant industrial arms provider. Another successful way the company grows its portfolio is supporting the ADF’s capability. Over the past 21 years BAE systems have been able to deliver trained military pilots to the ADF with the Navigation trainer project in Sale, Victoria and the basic flight training school in Tamworth, NSW67. By suppling screening and training for pilots, BAE systems makes itself invaluable to defence and guarantees its position as a leading defence contractor.
BAE systems has been able to advance its objectives by placing emphasis on supplying local jobs and enhancing the Australian market. As a private company with over 5000 employees based in South Australia, BAE systems have some bargaining power over the government. BAE systems Australia was able to procure the manufacture of titanium parts for…