Rubber Ducky attended the Industry Briefing in Sydney, hosted by the Department of Defence at SMC Conference Centre in Sydney on the 9th of December. Whilst a good opportunity to catch up with other friends and colleagues in the industry, the official briefing was disappointingly short, and finished essentially before morning tea at about 10:am. Official news from both the SEA 5000 (Future Frigates) and SEA 1180 (Offshore Patrol Vessel) essentially amounted to an outline of the timetable for the Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) to finish. Due to the government being under contract with three shortlisted suppliers who were invited into the CEP, Defence couldn't engage in any discussion of actual vessel details or capabilities with any of the 100+ representatives of small-medium enterprises who showed up for the day. The only substantive news was that the SEA 1180 vessel was now determined to be an Off-The-Shelf purchase with "minimal modification" in order to meet Australian regulatory requirements. The role is essentially only 'constabulary', which was reinforced when a question from the floor asked whether there was still room for modular, multi-mission systems. "Not in these 12 vessels" was the answer, with emphasis being placed on the constabulary role.
This is disappointing news for Rubber Ducky, since providing a version of our SCV as an offboard system for a multi-role Offshore Combatant Vessel (as SEA 1180 originally envisioned) was a likely entry point for our product in the Australian Market.
We will persist in exploring other routes through the various (and newly re-organised) hubs, portals, centers, funds etc that exist for Australian industry and its innovations.