Fremantle firm shares defence secrets

14 December, 2016

Spawned from humble origins in North Fremantle during the 1980s, technology and equipment provider L-3 Oceania is now prepared to share some of its hard-won secrets.

Scott Elson, the company’s Director of Sales and Marketing, offered sage advice to defence newcomers at CCI inaugural WA Defence Conference last week in Perth.

Speaking to BP Digital on the sidelines of the conference, Elson says the headline number of $195 billion on defence spending may look like a huge prize, but he warns that suppliers need to be ready for the long haul if they are to win even a small part of it.

“Defence is a particular culture and you have to be prepared to be part of it,” he says.

“Secondly, you need to understand the true meaning behind the opportunities.

“While defence is a very open procurement system, you can often be led to believe, because it’s open, that it is also easily achievable.”

Not so, Elson says.

“There is a lot of strategy, history and information needed to achieve results and, being an open system, it is very competitive at the same time.”

Elson’s first rule is to “be patient”.

“But also be very aware of the processes that you need to get in, win and deliver defence business.”

The current focus for L-3 Oceania, and many of its competitors, is Australia’s new offshore patrol vessel program, which went out to tender a few weeks ago.

Elson says L-3 will be pitching for the supply of navigation and communication equipment on the OPVs, which are scheduled to begin construction in 2018.

L-3 already has a number of its systems on the current Australian navy fleet and is looking at augmenting or increasing them to be part of the “common system for the future OPVs”, he says.

The company provides underwater sonars and communication devices alongside above-water systems found on the bridges of ships.

The company is also enjoying success on dry land.

In October it was awarded a $307M contract to supply and support night fighting equipment, including new generation night goggles, to Australian soldiers as part of the government’s LAND 53 program.

Missed out on attending the 2016 WA Defence Conference? Download the attendee eBook today to access the latest news and opportunities in defence.