Some 14 small to medium enterprises have established the Horizon Defence Systems Alliance. They include companies that make caps for Australian cricket to those that build world-class rifles and design sophisticated software systems. And almost all things in between.
Formed just over a year ago in June 2017, the alliance describes itself as the “new Australian” in prime systems integration that brings together the best in ideas, skills and technologies to enhance soldier performance and safety within the delivery of sovereign capabilities to the Australian Defence Force.
Membership currently stands at 14 small to medium enterprises that together generate more than A$125 million in annual turnover and employ more than 400 full-time staff.
The coming together of these SMEs as part of an alliance is, partly, a response to the federal government’s First Principles Review (FPR) in 2015.
The FPR’s recommendations included having its military materiel supply contracts focused on single, or prime, vendor contracts under a “Smart Procurement” initiative.
As a consequence, it would be more difficult for SMEs and other such specialist military technology or product suppliers to bid for these contracts unless they teamed up with prime vendors as subcontractors, or undertake the task of becoming prime vendors themselves.
The Horizon Defence Systems Alliance aims to offer an alternative to either of those two options, bringing together expertise across different industries to contest Defence prime vendor supply opportunities.
Members of the alliance work together under a formal collaboration agreement and corporate structure to contest specialist materiel supply contract opportunities put to tender by the Australian Department of Defence and related Australian national security agencies.
The initial focus will be on the Land domain, with opportunities such as LAND 125/4 – Soldier Combat Systems, LAND 1508/1 – Special Forces/Project Greyfin, LAND 159 – Small Arms Replacement, LAND 3025/2 – Deployable CBRNE Capability, and LAND 200/5 – Land Forces Communications being considered.
The current membership of the Horizon Defence Alliance comprises Albion Sports Technology, Benelec, CCA Protect, Daronmont Technologies, Imagine Intelligent Materials, Kremford, LHD Group Australia, MMC Learning and Development, Precision Technic Defence, Redback Boot Company, SORD Australia, Systematic and Warwick Firearms Australia.
Australian-based enterprises are eligible to join the Horizon Defence Alliance, subject to agreement by existing members that their skills and technologies are relevant to the business development strategy.