Opportunity for Leading Australian Innovations with US Defense

07 Nov 2019

The US defence market remains the world’s largest and can be a lucrative export market for Australian industry. It is also highly competitive. Selling into the US defence industry means mastering complex regulations and major time commitments.

To support Australian businesses, Austrade is working with the Australian Department of Defence to identify programs that Australian companies can leverage to decrease the time and cost of selling to US forces.

Rapid selection benefits Australian projects

One such program is the Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program, run by the US Department of Defense (DoD). The FCT has a mission to find, test and procure the latest technologies amongst US allied and partner nations.

The program seeks to find foreign technologies through a competitive basis. Technologies that can be inserted rapidly into US procurement are selected for evaluation. If successful, the FCT program can provide a streamlined approach to selling to DoD.

Australian companies have a successful track record in the program. Of 49 projects that received funding for evaluation, nine have been procured and/or fielded. These projects have a combined value of over A$500 million.

Is the DoD hunting for technology like yours?

Currently, the FCT program is seeking modernisation technologies in multiple areas, including: space, missile defence, hypersonics, directed energy, quantum technology, bio technology, cybersecurity, fully networked command control and communications, artificial intelligence and advanced autonomous systems.

To be considered for the program, technologies must have reached the prototype stage – or a rating of 6–9 on the Technology Readiness Level.

Additionally, products must be resilient in contested environments. This includes being resistant to electronic warfare and cyber-attacks – an increasing focus of concern for defence forces around the world.

Most importantly, technologies must clearly demonstrate innovation, value or superior performance.

In total the FCT looks at over 1000 technologies and solutions annually, although only around 10–15 projects are selected each year. This makes for a very competitive process. For companies with leading technologies in the specified areas, however, the FCT could be a pathway into DoD worth considering.

For more information on the FCT program or on exporting to the US Defence market, get in touch with the Austrade Defence, Advanced Manufacturing and Space team at defence@austrade.gov.au

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