One careful owner – Defence releases military sales catalogue

PC-9Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has released a new Australian Military Sales Catalogue as the first step in formulating a brand new Defence Exports Policy, hot on the heels of the new Defence Industry Policy Statement and the government’s announcement of a new grants program to drive local innovation in military related technologies,

As the Australian Defence Force (ADF) progressively upgrades and replaces its equipment, it becomes necessary for the Department of Defence to dispose of old equipment. Instead of simply relegating valuable assets to regional scrapheaps or recycling centres, it has been recognised that there are more positive opportunities to dispose of surplus equipment in a more orderly manner, and in a way that delivers more value to Australia.

For example, the Government announced just prior to the Avalon Airshow that 10 refurbished Army Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles had been sold to the Republic of Fiji to enable its Military Forces to support United Nations peacekeeping missions at the Golan Heights and in Syria. Prior to being deployed by Fiji to form part of the force protection mix that protects UN Observers, the subject vehicles will be fully overhauled, serviced, inspected and repainted in Australia to ensure they are fully operational and reconfigured to meet Fiji’s specific requirements.

In another recent defence exports example, approval was secured for the sale of C-130H Hercules transports to Indonesia for $15 million, however, two refurbishment contracts attached to the sale terms & conditions saw work generated in Australia valued in excess of $100 million.

Regular opportunities to export surplus Australian military assets have now been aggregated and published in the latest update of the Australian Military Sales Equipment Catalogue. The new Catalogue lists surplus equipment available for export by Defence domain, including Bushmasters, the M113AS4 armoured personnel carrier and ASLAV light armoured vehicle.

In the air domain the catalogue lists the sale of up to 63 Pilatus PC‑9/A training aircraft (which are soon to be replaced by the new-generation Pilatus PC-21), plus spares.

“The Pilatus PC9/A is a turboprop, tandem seat training aircraft primarily used by the RAAF for advanced flying training, flying instructor training and Joint Terminal Attack Controller training,” the catalogue reads. “The PC9/A entered RAAF service in 1987 and was also used by the RAAF aerobatic team for public displays. Two aircraft have been upgraded to a modern glass cockpit configuration and another four aircraft are fitted with smoke grenade dispensers to facilitate Air Combat Controller training.”

Also listed are spare parts from the Navy’s soon-to-retire Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk fleet (which are being replaced by the new MH-60R ‘Romeo’ Seahawk). “Up to 16 aircraft available from 2017,” the catalogue reads.

Other capabilities listed in the
new catalogue for potential export sale include: C-130 observer platform assembly and ventilation system; C-130 paratroop door negator upgrade; C-130 cargo compartment ballistic protection; and MRH 90 pyrotechnics and heliraft stowage system.

The Department of Defence
area responsible for administration of the new Australian Military
Sales Catalogue is the Australian Military Sales Office (AMSO), which manages the sale and exporting of surplus ADF equipment to approved foreign government customers under government-to-government arrangements.

Approvals for the sale of military equipment from Australia is nevertheless undertaken via a process independent from AMSO to ensure appropriate governance. Some equipment will nevertheless be subject to Country of Origin Foreign Government export approvals – for instance, United States International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) – and will therefore require United States Department of State approval prior to conclusion of the export deal.

AMSO offerings in the catalogue are presented in four broad groupings:

Available now – materiel and capability systems in the disposals process;

Expression of Interest – materiel and capability systems still in service with the ADF, but which may be subject to intensive management if interest is expressed;

Allied technology – Australian defence industry solutions, for which AMSO will act as the broker for government-to-government sales; and

Other capability.

Available equipment listings are also supported in the catalogue by information sheets identifying the type, quantity, origin and availability of equipment, and including any export controls. Although not catalogued, equipment spares and support and test equipment will be available for sale as part of any major item sale or can be sold separately. AMSO says it is important to note that availability dates are a guide and may be subject to change. Further, equipment is offered on the basis of as is – where is.

Speaking at the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi just prior to the Avalon Airshow, Minister Pyne said the Australian Government was “determined to use the defence dollar to drive a high technology, advanced manufacturing future. This is reflected in our new approach to the sector (and) our efforts to build a new partnership with defence-industry to deliver and sustain Australia’s defence capability. (It is also) reflected in our new determination to reach out to the world, to our friends and allies, to the governments we share security interests with to see how we can work together, how Australian industry and ingenuity can help with the defence of all our nations.”

Pyne went on to add, “We are determined to develop the Australian Defence Force’s capability to ensure our national security while strengthening the Australian defence-industry, growing exports and expanding wider high technology manufacturing across the Australian economy more generally to create new jobs and underpin our prosperity – what I call our great national endeavour. We are working towards the creation of a defence industry that can not only protect Australia’s interests, but generates innovative products that can assist our friends and allies and form an export industry that supports global peace and security.