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Spotlight on Kongsberg Defence Australia

John Fry, General Manager of Kongsberg Defence Australia explains that KONGSBERG’s presence in Australia dates back to 2004 but only as a very small unit until it began a rapid expansion two years ago.

Canberra, the home of Kongsberg Defence Australia (KDAu), is the capital of Australia. Founded following the federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is the eight largest city in the country and sometimes affectionately called ‘The Bush Capital’ for its sweeping nature reserves and surrounding mountain ranges.

“The main business is the production of NASAMS (National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) for the Australian military. This includes the manufacture and integration of Fire Distribution Centres, final assembly of canister launchers, and production of classroom training equipment,” says John. “And we’re also expanding into other opportunities moving forward,” he adds.


“Those other opportunities include KDAu being the Command, Control, Communications, and Computing (C4) Integration partner for the new Protected Mobile Fires program where we’re delivering the ICS and Odin Fire Control System into the K9 howitzers that Australia is buying. We’re hoping that contract will be signed by the end of the year,” John says.

“We have opportunities in Australia for Naval Strike Missiles and Joint Strike Missiles so we’re working those quite hard. For land systems, we have remote weapon systems (RWS) in country and it is looking likely that Australia is going to be buying more in the near future. We are hoping to establish some RWS support capability in Australia – we believe the increased number of systems will now give us the volume we need to be able to support those products locally as well.”

John describes KDAu’s growth and ability to maintain its project schedule as a real testament to the collaboration between the teams in Australia and Norway in a challenging period, “In Australia, Covid has not been a major issue but it has prevented our Norwegian colleagues travelling to Australia, so we’ve had to grow up much quicker. Covid has made us do things a lot faster than we expected,” he explains citing the challenging geopolitical situation in his part of the world and the resulting increased investment in defence.

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“There’s a lot of focus on defence capability here in Australia and that’s a great thing for us and the industry and everyone across the sector is extremely busy,” he adds.

John also believes there are other reasons for the positive growth – the composition of the team and KONGSBERG values. “We are Australian led and the team are all Australian employees, which I think is important for our marketplace. It’s important to have a local presence here when competing with others landed companies.”

On values John says, “I think the KONGSBERG corporate values are incredibly important. Interestingly, we’ve had local people here in Australia wanting to join the company because of those values and the fact that we strongly adhere to these values. And I think that’s why the company is so well regarded by our industry partners and our customers.”