For many of Defence’s industry partners, seeing the end result of their work is only possible by watching the news.
On July 14, members of the Australian Industry and Defence Network (AIDN) witnessed their contribution first-hand during a tour of RAAF Base Richmond.
Long known for supporting Defence operations at home and abroad, RAAF Base Richmond has in the last 12 months enabled the evacuation of non-combatants from Afghanistan, and delivered disaster relief to Tonga following a volcano eruption and earthquake.
High-tempo operations – coupled with COVID-19 and support to disaster relief efforts in the Sydney region – have made visiting RAAF Base Richmond a challenge for industry.
Air Vice-Marshal Kym Osley, who is both a member of the RAAF Active Reserve and is also the Defence advocate for the NSW Government, arranged the AIDN visit on July 14.
“They don’t often get the chance to meet the warfighter or end user, see the capabilities up close, or meet the other stakeholders,” Air Vice-Marshal Osley said.
“By allowing them to tour RAAF Base Richmond, they can see the missions that are flown from here and understand the capability that they’re contributing to.”
The visit by AIDN members comprised 70 representatives from 50 companies and organisations that support Defence.
These ranged from small businesses providing dedicated specialist technical services, through to larger organisations such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Thales Australia.
“We have people here who machine parts for the C-130J, through to companies that provide cyber security,” Air Vice-Marshal Osley said.
“Every company represented here already does Defence work, and much of that is within the aerospace field.
“The majority of them are providing a service that applies to Richmond, and while that isn’t a prerequisite for participating in this visit, they obviously have an interest in the work here.”
RAAF Base Richmond is home to a squadron of 12 C-130J Hercules transport aircraft operated by No. 37 Squadron, along with a significant industrial base to sustain and maintain these aircraft.
RAAF Base Richmond remains an important part of how Air Force conducts air mobility operations, and continues to support Defence in the Sydney region and wider New South Wales.
Representatives from the base briefed AIDN on the base’s current role, and hosted tours of a static C-130J as well as visits to industry partners including CAE Australia and Airbus.
“Many companies will provide support to Defence in partnership with others or through a lead company that is the platform steward” Air Vice-Marshal Osley said.
“Visits like this allow industry representatives to network, to discuss opportunities to partner, to build relationships and ultimately to leverage the strengths of the participating companies.
“It leads to a better outcome for Australian industry and better and more cost effective support for Defence.”
picture Participants of the Australian Industry Defence Network in front of a C-130J Hercules during a visit to RAAF Base Richmond. Photo: Corporal Dan Pinhorn