The Australian Defence Force is one of the best in the world, currently ranking 19 out of 140 countries considered for the annual Global Firepower review. To achieve this, it holds a PwrIndx* score of 0.3378, with 0.0000 considered ‘perfect’. 

To ensure we maintain this ranking and, more importantly, our combative edge, in 2018, the Department of Defence (DoD) unveiled ten Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities (SICPs), which everyone in the industry has been working towards. 

Recently, however, Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price announced four new SICPs to ensure we meet the evolving demands of the current strategic environment, in line with the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan.

A recap of the existing SICPs

The SICPs were first detailed in the 2018 Defence Industrial Capability Plan.  The initial ten capabilities listed included:

  • Collins Class submarine maintenance and technology upgrade 
  • Continuous shipbuilding program (including rolling submarine acquisition) 
  • Land combat vehicle and technology upgrade
  • Enhanced active and passive phased array radar capability
  • Combat clothing survivability and signature reduction technologies
  • Advanced signal processing capability in electronic warfare, cyber and information security, and signature management technologies and operations Surveillance and intelligence data collection, analysis dissemination and complex systems integration
  • Test, evaluation, certification and systems assurance 
  • Munitions and small arms research, design, development and manufacture 
  • Aerospace platform deep maintenance.

Four new SICP for 2021

Adding to these, the four new SICPs outlined by Minister Price are:

  • Robotics, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence
  • Precision guided munitions, hypersonic weapons, and integrated air and missile defence systems
  • Space
  • Information warfare and cyber capabilities

While these new capabilities may not be a surprise, they’ve never been formally included as part of the SICP before.  

What’s critical about these capabilities is that we have access to the skills, technology, intellectual property, financial resources and infrastructure that underpin them.

As well as ensuring we maintain our combative edge, Minister Price says these priorities are focused on providing secure, long-term employment to Australian’s in 21st-century industries and technologies. 

Ensuring the new SICPs are enabled

To ensure these new capabilities are enabled, we will work at a regional level with industry to continue to provide business attraction and financial support, including infrastructure enablers and innovation opportunities.

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