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Defence, the oceans & innovation: dinner address to the AME 98 Conference 'Meeting the needs of the maritime industry', Trade Winds Hotel, Maroubra, NSW



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Minister for Defence Industry, Science and Personnel

The Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP

DEFENCE, THE OCEANS & INNOVATION

DINNER ADDRESS TO THE ΑΙΜΕ 98 CONFERENCE "Meeting the Needs of the Maritime Industry"

Trade Winds Hotel Maroubra 2 July 1998

Introduction

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to be able to have the opportunity to speak to you this evening at the AME 98 Conference "Meeting the Needs of the Maritime Industry".

The United Nations has declared 1998 as the International Year of the Ocean (YOTO). The goal of YOTO is to promote public awareness and understanding of the value of the sea, its resources and marine activities to the national welfare. This conference, with its range of speakers and issues, more that meets that goal.

There are a number of issues that I have been asked to speak on tonight, including the future of the Cooperative Research Centre Program and the importance and challenges of Australia's maritime strategic environment. However, as Minister for Defence Industry and Science, I will also touch upon some of the history of defence innovation in Australia and an indication of the way ahead.

The Strategic Environment

Late last year the Government established the future direction for Australian defence planning into the 21st century, Australia's Strategic Policy.

The judgements in Australia's Security Policy reflects the Government's conviction that to prosper in the very demanding environment now emerging in the Asia-pacific, Australia needs a strategic approach which takes full account of the new challenges we face. Moreover, Australia needs an approach that explicitly reflects the full breadth of our security interests.

That strategic approach is the key philosophical and practical difference in this Government's direction for Defence. Such a strategic response to the challenges facing Australia is taken even further through my recently released Defence and Industry - Strategic Policy Statement, of which I'll have more to say later on.

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The Government's policy reaffirms that while the basis for our force structure will be having the capabilities for national defence, these capabilities must also be able to make a substantial contribution in defence of broader regional stability.

Australia's Strategic Policy argues that the key to defeating attacks on Australia is the delivery of combat power to deny our maritime approaches to hostile ships and aircraft. Next to the information capabilities that provide the intelligence, surveillance and command basis for that task, our highest priority is the development of capabilities to achieve that by being able to defeat hostile sips and aircraft in our maritime approaches.

The priorities of my Government for developing our ability to defeat threats in our air and sea approaches will be to"

• ensure our air superiority aircraft have a clear advantage over systems they are likely to encounter; • expand our submarine capabilities; • make cost effective investments in the defensive and offensive capabilities of our present fleet of major surface combatants.

By the same token, surveillance of our maritime approaches is also one of our top strategic priorities.

As the worlds largest island, Australia has a mainland coastline which is 36,735 km long. When the 200 nautical mile (nm) Exclusive Economic Zone and external territories such as Christmas, Macquarie, Norfolk, Cocos, Heard and McDonald Islands are taken into account, the scope of the resulting surveillance tasks takes on enormous proportions. Particularly when you consider that the Heard and McDonald Islands are over 4000km from the Australian mainland.

While peacetime responsibility for the management and coordination of the civil coastal surveillance program appropriately lies with Coastwatch, within the Australian Customs Service, Defence has an important role to play.

Defence support to the program consists of 1800 patrol boat days of surface patrol and response capability and 250 hours of P3C Orion air surveillance per year. Coastwatch draws on Defence intelligence information and assistance with the planning and conduct of surveillance operations. Military units also routinely report sightings o f interest to Coastwatch for dissemination to the relevant authorities.

Coastwatch conducts daily surveillance flights around the country and to the Christmas, Cocos, Norfolk and Lord Howe offshore territories. Aerial surveillance by ADF P3C Orion aircraft also occurs in Australia's maritime approaches and is coordinated by Headquarters Northern Command in Darwin, in consultation with Coastwatch. Over the past few years the civil surveillance program has resulted in an average of more than 300 foreign fishing vessels being boarded per annum, of which over 100 are subsequently apprehended each year.

Defence has been directly involved in action to stamp out illegal foreign fishing in our southern waters.

In February, HMAS Newcastle apprehended another foreign fishing vessel operating illegally inside the Heard and McDonald Island exclusive economic zone. This adds to the two apprehensions by HMAS ANZAC in October 1997. The Masters of the apprehended vessels are being prosecuted in Australian courts.

The Government is committed to protecting our fishing industry and our environment and will continue to mount operations to monitor activity in the Southern Ocean.

Defence conducted both surveillance operations, but the Government is implementing a broader strategy, which draws more effectively on sustainable and cost-effective civil resources. Management of these fish stocks cannot be done by any one nation in isolation. As part of our broad strategy we are actively pursuing cooperative management arrangements with other interested countries including France, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Chile.

As highlighted in Australia's Strategic Policy the achievement of a continuous, real time, all-weather integrated surveillance capability of our maritime approaches is the highest force structure priority for Defence.

To meet this requirement, we recently announced approval for the acquisition of Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft, which will be integrated into the national surveillance effort. The capabilities of the future Patrol Boat Force for the conduct of the ongoing commitment to the response and law enforcement role are also currently under consideration.

History of Defence Innovation

The history of innovation in defence industry and science in Australia can be traced back to the days before Federation. It arose from perceived threats first from the French, and then, with the outbreak of the Crimean war, from the Russians.

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In the 1880's an Irish immigrant called Louis Brennan designed a torpedo for use against ships. The missile was steered with two guide wires, rather like a kite. The project was eventually abandoned owing to the difficulties of firing the torpedo from a moving vessel. Brennan, however returned to the UK to become a successful businessman operating a munitions factory.

Between Federation and World War I, Australian scientists undertook research into the safe life, manufacture and storage of explosives in Australian conditions in Melbourne. The original laboratory is still standing at Victoria Barracks.

This was the beginning of Australian efforts to adapt overseas capabilities to our unique geo-climactic conditions; an effort that continues today with DSTO's work on, for example, the Collins class submarines.

During the Second World War the two major organisations dealing with science were the Munitions Supply Laboratories and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. However, there were scientists located throughout other organisations, state laboratories and universities who also took part in the scientific war effort.

One result of the plethora of R&D organisations was a lack of communication between scientists in the different areas. In one case, investigation work was being carried out on rot proofing for tents in three different cities and by six different organisations. These were the days before the Government's Defence Efficiency Review and Strategic Defence Industry Policy.

Another problem we are familiar with today was a lack of communication between scientists and industry. Once a contract was let to industry for the manufacture of equipment, any further difficulties in production were the responsibility of the manufacturer.

During WWII, the defence laboratories served mainly to support industries in their contribution to the national war effort, by finding solutions to problems that arose in industry. The Universities were encouraged by Defence to undertake more fundamental research.

These days, DSTO identifies far more closely with the ADF; its job is to give advice on the application of science and technology best suited to Australia's defence needs, and of course to back up this advice with its program of scientific work.

Its interaction with industry remains one of helping industry become better able to meet Defence needs; but there is an important difference: Government ownership no longer dominates the forces of production, and much of DSTO's support to industry is on the basis of fee for service.

50 years ago, the Department of Supply and Development was responsible for the coordination of Australian industrial capacity and plans to ensure effective operation in times of war. The department was also responsible for the extension of industries for the purposes of defence.

Today, there is too little coordination of Australian industrial capacity in support of defence. The Government has kept its promise to address this shortcoming by improving the relationship between Defence and industry through the release of its new defence industry policy, Defence and Industry - Strategic Policy Statement.

The Maritime Industry in Australia

Australia has had a shipbuilding industry since 1789 when the 10-ton Rose Hill Packet was launched in Sydney. In the 1850s the NSW Government built Cockatoo Island Dockyard for docking and repair and for construction of inshore vessels. A naval base was established at Garden Island in 1856 and in the same year Williamstown Dockyard commenced operations.

Today Defence is a significant source of workload for the shipbuilding industry. It accounts for over half of Australia's shipbuilding industry turnover. Annual defence expenditure on maritime construction is about $1 billion and employs about 2000 people.

Gross Defence demand on naval shipbuilding is likely to be constant out to the year 2005, and will include projects such as the upgrading of the ANZAC and FFG-7 frigates.

Naval ship programs are typically electronic intensive and at the leading edge of technologies. This introduces real and perceived risks that need to be balanced against self-reliant objectives for Defence and the progressive skilling of Australian industry.

But this Government believes that a genuine commitment to partnering with industry is based on sharing both risks

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and rewards. We need to share some element of risk because we know that risk can pay off in substantial improvements in schedule and costs. We also know there is no such thing as a risk free environment. But this requires a change of culture.

The previous Government seemed to think that you could transfer risk onto a contractor and do so for free. This concept was and remains nonsense - for any risk transfer a heavy premium was paid by Defence and the taxpayer.

Australian industry can rise to the challenge as shown by the advanced design work, technologies and construction techniques for the GRP-hulIed HUON mine-hunters, and the modular-constructed ANZAC frigates and COLLINS submarines. Major shipbuilding projects under way are realising levels of Australian industry involvement typically in excess of 70%.

The policy is to promote Australian industry involvement at all stages in the product life cycle where this adds value. We recognise that the best defence is built on effective in-country industry involvement.

We also recognise that the development of a 'knowledge edge' is vital for defence, and that the leading role in the development and manufacturing of many of the technologies associated with the knowledge edge is being undertaken by commercial developments. So the Revolution in Military Affairs requires a more substantial role by industry in the development of new technology.

The Department of Defence is interested to receive from industry any ideas about how future projects could capitalise on or extends the envelope for design or construction methods and materials. One of the major differences in this Government's approach to industry policy is its commitment to open communication and a genuine partnership with industry.

So another initiative of the new defence industry policy is for Defence to publish Public Discussion Papers on major capabilities that explain their underlying rationale and early plans for their development. While the first paper to be released will address options for the future of the F/A-18 fighter fleet, future possible programs are: an offshore patrol capability to replace the Fremantle class, a new surface combatant capability, replenishment and amphibious vessels.

Many technologies important to future war-winning are evolving rapidly, and bring new opportunities. One of the major initiatives of this Government is increasing its focus on exploiting these new possibilities through the development of a program of Capability and Technology Demonstrators (CTD).

A CTD is an experimental system that integrates advanced technologies into a potential defence application. It allows researchers, industry and ADF operators to work together to explore and demonstrate the potential of advanced technology to enhance a military capability

Approved proposals to date have incorporated advances in technology in broad band communications, sonar, radar, acoustic signature reduction and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The CTD program is not about research. The technology will be well understood but not yet exploited to the proposed military end. The innovation will be in the application to Defence priorities, not in the science itself.

To encourage greater investment by industry, and as a result of the new Strategic Defence Industry Policy, Defence will double its Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program to a maximum of $20 million per annum.

We will look to industry to generate quality proposals that: identify opportunities to resolve problems; are based on capability development priorities; and are funded by both Defence and the industry sponsor. The increased ability of Defence to share the risks of innovation will provide an enhanced incentive for industry to undertake Defence-related research and development.

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The Cooperative Research Centre Program

Innovation is well recognised as being an essential ingredient for sustainable economic growth and improvement in living standards. In turn, successful innovation relies on first rate research, and effective interaction between the performers and users of that research.

In support of further innovative development, and in particular the efforts of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Program, the Government is adopting key recommendations of a recent review by Chief Scientist, Professor John Stocker, and former ANZ Banking Group CEO, Don Mercer.

The positive outcomes of the review and this Government's ongoing support will, as noted recently by my colleague, the Minister for Industry, Science and Tourism, "make an already good program even better". The CRC Program of the future will:

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• have a strong research management culture with the chair and a majority of directors being either independent or representatives of users; • promote the development of international links so that Australia can further position itself in the leading-edge technologies; and • have an even greater emphasis on technology that can help Australian industry become more innovative,

competitive and productive.

Technology Transfer

The Department of Defence, through the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), enjoys significant benefits from its membership of the AME CRC. But this has been a two-way flow, and the benefits are accruing both to Defence and industry.

For example, a commercial pipeline steel developed by BHP is being examined for application in ship structures, including fabrication using advanced laser welding. The steel offers distinct advantages in terms of strength, weight and cost over special military grade steels. Moreover, those advantages are equally applicable for large, very fast freight ships and offshore installations. This particular example also has a strong international dimension with UK,

Canada and Denmark being involved, as well as cross-linkages with the CRC for Materials Welding and Joining.

Some of the other significant benefits from membership of the AME CRC include;

• Development of the Horizontal Planar Motion Mechanism. This highly acclaimed equipment accurately monitors the motion and manoeuvring characteristics of scale models of Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles. Such vehicles have defence applications in mine counter measures and other areas, as well as inspection of oilrigs. The equipment enables collection of data that is vital for the validation of algorithms used for navigation and control of such vehicles. • Ship structural integrity, survivability and safety. Defence participated in an industry led collaborative

feasibility project for a system of sensors that would provide real-time notification of permanent hull damage. BHP's bulk carrier, Iron Newcastle, was employed in the project but the generic technologies are equally applicable to warships. • High speed ship capabilities. Defence took part in an initiative by Australian shipbuilders involving the testing

of models of different hull forms for high-speed vessels. The results support the preliminary assessment of ship design, for both naval applications and for civilian fast ferries. • Acoustic assessment of towed arrays. Open water towing trials were conducted at Lake Tullah, Tasmania, on towed array streamers. These trials are in support of Australia's advanced capability in towed array sonar, and

will contribute to the enhancing of sonar performance for both defence and exploration purposes.

Defence is supporting the bid for continuation of the CRC, which will focus on the needs of maritime defence, and the offshore oil and gas industry.

These two fields have a great deal of technology in common. Collaboration, therefore, has the potential to meet both commercial and Defence needs. Defence's interests range from improvements to war-fighting (that is, improved effectiveness), to an enhanced ability within industry to support our national defence effort.

An international trend is toward the use of commercial designs for replenishment and military transport of sea vessels. An example is the US Defense Department interest in high speed multi-hulls to transport troops and their equipment. Australia presently has no such requirement, although the Department of Defence is considering future needs with the possibility of using commercial designs as a basis for a technology demonstrator.

As I made clear in the recently released Strategic Defence Policy for Industry statement, we want a technologically advanced ADF supported through a close partnership with efficient, innovative and sustainable firms.

Conclusion

Australia has always relied on technology and innovation to help us leverage our scarce resources. We are a small population on a large land mass.

The Australian Defence Force knows innovation can be a force multiplier. That is why groups such as yourselves and conferences such as this are so important. To remain the clever country and use our resources effectively we need research and development, and forums that enable us to share our findings.

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Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this evening and I wish you well for the rest of the conference.

See also:

• Other Media Statements and Speeches • Defence Home Page

Corrections to Ministerial and Parliamentary Liaison Services

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