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Australia Defense Industry

In July 2020, the Australian Government released its 2020 Defence Strategic Update, including forward estimates of the defense budget thru to 2030.  Approximately AUD 270 billion (approx. USD 200 billion) is to be invested in defense capability, representing a 30+ % increase over the previous ten-year defense acquisition plan announced in 2016.

Australia has focused on a broad-based, high tech and US-interoperable approach to improving its defense systems. The core thrust is high tech, with traditional air-sea-land needs complemented by space, cyber, unmanned systems and a commitment to build up local defense industry capabilities, with a particular focus on naval shipbuilding. While it has sourced extensively internationally – and was rated the world’s 2nd largest defense importer in 2018 - Australia is consistently a major defense customer of the U.S, peaking as its 2nd largest market worldwide in 2017.

Australia is also working to develop a stronger and more export-oriented indigenous defense industry and this is delivered in part via the Australian Industry Capability Program that requires prime companies competing for defense contracts to demonstrate how they will maximise Australian industry involvement. Noting this requirement, American companies continue to enjoy wide success, either by direct export or via their many Australian subsidiaries and distributors.

Key opportunities in the decade to 2029-30 - in U.S. dollars – include Maritime (54B), Air (44B), Land (40B), Infrastructure (22B), IT and Cyber (11B), Space (5B) and Defense ‘Enterprise’ which includes diverse elements focusing on building  resilience and self-reliance – weapons stocks and manufacturing, enhanced training areas, geospatial information and intelligence capabilities and defense’s core management systems (11B).

For more information please contact the  Dr. Doug Hartley, Aerospace and Defense commercial specialist at the U.S. Commercial Service in Australia, email: