In the pantheon of Australian defence industry, there are the big players such as BAE Systems, Thales, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, but smaller, lesser known players are making a growing impact in the high tech sector.
One of those smaller players is Brisbane-based Frequentis, the local subsidiary of a 70-year-old Austrian firm which produces secure voice communications systems for military and civil applications.
When Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract for defence’s Tactical Air Defence Radar System (TADRS), Frequentis was chosen as the supplier of the end-to-end IP-based secure voice communication system.
The company also supplies secure voice communications for US Navy aircraft carriers and LHDs and civil aviation throughout the world. Closer to home, Frequentis does communications and incident management for Sydney trains.
Frequentis executive board member Norbert Haslacher said the company heritage was voice communications for air traffic control, of which it’s a world leader with 30 per cent of the global market.
“We expanded civil air traffic management into defence, public safety, public transport and maritime,” he said.
Frequentis arrived in Australia in 2004 as Frequentis Australasia, headquartered in Brisbane with offices in Sydney and Melbourne with annual business growing to $35 million for military and civil projects across the region. It has 30 staff.
The RAAF is its biggest customer, with Frequentis engaged in air traffic management and air defence systems.
“The last three years we have had average growth of 40 per cent per year which is a big opportunity for us,” he said.
Frequentis Australasia managing director Martin Rampl said the corporate strategy was to decentralise operations.
“We do program management, maintenance support and project delivery on site. The next step then is to also manage research and development locally,” he said.