The Defence State

South Australia is serious about defence.

Our commitment to the defence sector is unmatched across the nation. We’ve made a significant investment in state-of-the-art infrastructure and we’re focused on delivering a highly skilled, industry-ready workforce.

The state is home to the headquarters of significant operations of major defence companies, including Airbus Group Australia Pacific, BAE Systems Australia, Babcock, Navantia and Ultra Electronics.

Defence is a key sector for the state, creating long-term employment, attracting significant investment and driving innovation.

As you will see below, South Australia have well and truly settled into their reputation as the Defence State of Australia.

An unprecedented continuous build program:
In 2016 the Federal Government confirmed that Adelaide would be the build location for Australia’s AUD $50 billion Future Submarines Project, SEA1000. The ‘deal of the century,’ termed by the French Government, will be delivered by French company, Naval Group. 2022 will see the first steel cut for the project, beginning one of the world’s largest military contracts.

The final design contracts are expected to be signed before the end of the year. Naval Group will start planning for the estimated 150 companies expected to set up alongside the naval giant over the next three years. The Office of the Agent General is already talking to over 100 companies keen to learn more about how best to approach this huge opportunity. Many of these companies are looking at other sectors in the State as they plan to set up early and become autonomous in their Australian operations before bidding for the Naval Group contracts.

We are also eagerly awaiting a decision on who, out of BAE, Fincantieri or Navantia, will win the contract to design and build nine anti-submarine frigates for Australia’s Future Frigates program in Adelaide. The project’s estimated worth has been valued at over AUD$35 billion, a huge investment into the South Australian economy. This is set to be the most important defence announcement for the State in 2018, with equally great implications on a national scale. Construction will begin in 2020 with all ships to be built at Adelaide’s Osborne Naval Shipbuilding Precinct. This project is expected to create 2,000 jobs in South Australia, further cementing our position as the Defence State.

As we await announcement of the preferred tender, construction will begin this year on a fleet of twelve Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Australian Navy. German ship designer, Lürssen, will be working with ASC in Adelaide on construction of the first two vessels before the program is moved to Western Australia. This program also includes opportunities for British and European companies wanting to engage in South Australia’s defence activity.

Opportunities for British and European companies:
In projects of this scale and complexity, there will be occasions where the local supply chain will need to be supplemented by international expertise. These gaps represent opportunities for European suppliers to team up with Adelaide based companies or set up a subsidiary to respond to the demand.

The Government of South Australia is working with European companies to visit Adelaide and explore the range of potential sectors for business development opportunities. By setting up in Australia before invitations to tender for naval packages are issued, companies enhance their chances of winning the tenders, allowing their product to fill the few supply chain gaps.

A range of practical and financial help is available to British and European companies looking to explore opportunities within South Australia. That is where our office comes in.

To find out more information please contact John Rees, Trade and Investment Director at the Office of the Agent General for South Australia on +44 207 9102 or

Take a look at our defence page to learn about the investment opportunities for this sector in South Australia.