20th Oct, 2018
THE ANATOMY OF A NEW DEFENCE BUSINESS
Land Forces will mark the official launch of our new division under the RLD Group, which includes well known companies, Nightforce Optics, Lightforce Australia Pty Ltd, Horus Vision Reticle Systems and Euro Optics Australia. This division – Force Ordnance – is a small arms systems solution provider and represents a significant increase in RLD Group’s investment in the defence sector.
As an Australian small arms specialist, Force Ordnance will provide Australia with a sovereign capability that will also fulfil the objectives of the government’s Global Export Strategy. And from the outset I would like to acknowledge that the Defence Teaming Centre has been instrumental in providing advice and opening doors.
By way of background, several RLD Group companies already supply military and law enforcement agencies. Nightforce Optics supplies world’s best optics to global defence and law enforcement agencies. Lightforce has provided IR lighting to Defence.
Force Ordnance will focus on providing small arms systems to military, law enforcement and government communities. This new venture will leverage RLD’s significant footprint in the US, where we have achieved healthy sales of optics to the commercial market. Two fundamental keys to the success of the Force Ordnance division will be:
- Engaging with a US-based OEM, that is already a well-respected supplier to global Defence and law enforcement
- Utilising our world-class expertise in precision manufacturing to new heights to offer tailored solutions with the fastest order-to-delivery turnaround in the world.
Our thinking is in step with the DTC’s emphasis on smaller companies embracing collaboration as an intelligent pathway for growth. That is why we are partnering with a well-known OEM in the United States, which has a strong record as a designer, manufacturer and supplier of small arms systems to our target clients. We will announce the partnering company at our official Force Ordnance launch event during the 2018 Land Forces Conference. The plan is to further refine the products offered by the US company to suit localised needs, using our advanced manufacturing in South Australia. Manufacturing will commence in September.
In theory, this plan sounds relatively straightforward. However, even with our 35-year history of achievement across a variety of sectors, increasing our presence in defence represented a major challenge for RLD. We recognised the need to combine industry and defence experience, without having to continually resort to first-principles reviews. This is where the Defence Teaming Centre has been extremely supportive, specifically:
- At the start of this journey, we benefited from participation in DTC networking events and information sessions.
- Two employees were then exposed to all facets of the ADF through SADILP, which I highly recommend as a substantial leadership program.
- At the same time, we received timely advice and information regarding approaches to government and updates on key happenings within defence.
- More recently, introductions to defence-related industries and high-level contacts has been invaluable, and this alone is a compelling reason for any business to take up DTC membership.
In achieving this wonderful sovereign capability for Australia, there are so many factors we must get right. Our reputation for high quality lighting systems and the world’s finest rifle optic will not guarantee the success of Force Ordnance alone, nor will the fact that we export to more than 50 countries. These aspects will be contributors, as will a symbiotic relationship with our new partner’s commitment to ever-improving quality standards and through life support. So too is recognising the uniqueness of each market and offering design innovation; we intend to offer more than 48 variants of small arms as we pursue domestic and global grow