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A look at the upcoming ASPI Australia-France Defence and Industry Dialogue

A look at the upcoming ASPI Australia-France Defence and Industry Dialogue"

When Australian and French officials meet for an upcoming discussion on the future of cross-border defence acquisition, they'll likely touch on a few of the biggest topics in the industry at the moment.

Andrew Davies, a senior analyst for defence capability at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, stated that he expects there to be more talk of defence acquisitions from European suppliers, despite the setbacks seen last decade.

In the 2000s, Australia showed a boom in demand for defence equipment, and several projects got off the ground at the same time. While this may have given Australia a bargaining chip to use with American defence suppliers, it also had a few unintended consequences.

"I think it’s fair to say that the experience of the recent European acquisitions hasn’t been a particularly happy one," Mr Davies explained.

"Through a combination of factors - some due to the performance of the suppliers themselves and some due to poor decision making or mismanagement in our own acquisition processes - the highest profile acquisitions have had an alarming tendency to be greatly delayed and several have ended up on the 'projects of concern list.'"

He compared this to the purchases made through the American Foreign Military Sales system, which regularly delivered equipment on time and on budget.

However, Mr Davies stated that the past few years may have been a harder time for European suppliers to succeed in Australian orders. In the next few years, he expects the process to improve, especially in areas where the US is lagging, such as diesel-electric submarines.

In fact, submarines are expected to be a key talking point, as France has a renowned submarine industry that could fit the needs of Australia's future military projects.

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By Philip Shelley
 

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