Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched a new Defence Export Strategy to catapult Australia into the world’s top 10 defense exporting countries by 2028. Australia’s defence exports are worth about $2 billion a year.
And the government has turned to the Australian universities and colleges to help fulfill these goals. It needs university graduates with the skills to grow and sustain the defense manufacturing industry and academic research that contributes to the development of defense and weapons technologies.
What is the Australia Model?
Research partnerships between Australian universities and defense industries: For example, to help bring the best practices and leading-edge technologies to Australia – the University of Melbourne announced a research partnership with the Lockheed Martin, through the Defence Science Institute. Lockheed Martin is one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturer.
This is Lockheed Martin’s first research center outside of the United States. The new STELaRLab (Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership & Research Laboratory) will provide Ph.D. scholarships and internships, while directly funding research projects and co-authoring applications in the future.
Areas of initial research for the new center will include hypersonics, autonomy, robotics, and C4ISR (command, control, communications, computing, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance).
The University of Melbourne has a similar agreement with UK weapons manufacturer BAE Systems. Students at the University of Melbourne would gain access to equipment, data and testing facilities at the BAE Systems Australian facility and leverage BAE System’s global activities, networks and early careers programs.
The Defence Science Partnerships program, led by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), will enable Australian universities to work in a coordinated way with Defence and national security agencies on collaborative research projects. There are now 32 academic institutions that have signed up to the Defence Science Partnership program. These are:
- Australian Catholic University
- Australian National University
- Charles Darwin University
- Curtin University
- Deakin University
- Edith Cowan University
- Federation University Australia
- Flinders University
- Griffith University
- James Cook University
- LaTrobe University
- Macquarie University
- Monash University
- Queensland University of Technology
- RMIT University
- Swinburne University
- University of Adelaide
- University of Canberra
- University of Melbourne
- University of Newcastle
- University of New South Wales
- University of Queensland
- University of South Australia
- University of Southern Queensland
- University of Sunshine Coast
- University of Sydney
- University of Tasmania
- University of Technology Sydney
- University of Western Australia
- University of Western Sydney
- University of Wollongong
- Victoria University
The US-Australia International Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (AUSMURI):
Last year Australia’s Department of Defence partnered with the US Department of Defense (DoD) on the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative. This program provides grant funding to Australian universities willing to produce research on “designated topics” with “potential for significant future defence capability”.
Should India follow Australia Model?
Since the industrial revolution, no nation has become a major power without becoming an Industrial Power. An emerging global power like India cannot stay an arms importer for long. India is the world’s largest arms importer, accounting for 12% of the global imports from 2013-2017.
The “Make in India” initiative launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi – a formidable step in right direction and is expected to give fillip to the Indian arms production industry, thereby positioning India as a global defense manufacturing hub.