On this page

Where defence meets advanced manufacturing

NSW is home to more military bases and defence personnel than any other state. Over 80 facilities—including 21 major defence bases and training areas are located in the state. NSW is also home to a competitive and technically sophisticated defence industry sector that contributes significantly to the Australian economy.

NSW’s diverse defence and aerospace supply chain ranges from manufacturing materials for fighter jets to sophisticated software systems utilising data and space technology for national cybersecurity.

The defence sector is underpinned by a deep and complex industrial base with capabilities in materials research, industrial design, information and communication technology, and complex systems integration.

That’s why global defence companies such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems find NSW to be the ideal location for their Australian or regional operations.

Quick facts: NSW defence industry ecosystem

Some key features of the NSW aerospace and defence sectors include:

  • One quarter of Australia’s military and civilian defence personnel – over 25,000 – are located in NSW. Employment in the defence industry sector exceeds 36,000 jobs. Defence expenditure in the state exceeds $9 billion.
  • Defence giant Northrop Grumman recently announced a $50 million investment to become an anchor tenant at Western Sydney Airport.
  • NSW has well developed research and development (R&D) capability across the defence sector and has significant capability across the nine defence priority technologies.
  • The NSW university ecosystem is world-leading in the areas of quantum technologies, autonomous systems and materials science. There has been significant investment in centres of excellence, national infrastructure and training.
  • The NSW Government supports partnership between the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and seven world class universities in NSW as the NSW Defence Innovation Network.
  • NSW is a leader in cybersecurity, with Australia’s largest information and communications technology (ICT) sector, producing 58% of the country’s ICT services exports. The NSW Government actively supports cybersecurity, including through a $2 million university-led NSW Cyber Security Network.
  • The state is home to the largest defence industrial workforce of more than 36,000.

The right support for your business

Through Defence NSW, the NSW Government supports investment and innovation by creating the conditions for and enabling sustainable, technologically advanced and globally competitive defence industries across the state.

Defence NSW is a dedicated team within the NSW Department of Industry that identifies and drives opportunities to collaborate, partner and assist the growth of the NSW defence sector.

Current investment opportunities in defence and aerospace

There are many defence investment opportunities in NSW, including:

  • The $5.3 billion investment in developing a new Western Sydney Airport, which includes Defence giant Northrop Grumman as an anchor tenant.
  • The 2016 Australian Defence White Paper, which detailed a plan for investing A$200 billion in defence capability over 10 years, including investment opportunities in defence technology, assets and infrastructure. This investment has generated a range of opportunities in the acquisition and sustainment of both new and updated equipment.
Read more

If you are interested in finding out more about the Defence sector in Sydney and NSW, get in touch with the NSW Investment Concierge today.

Case Study: BAE Systems Australia

Investment BAE

In 2000, BAE Systems started its aircraft engineering and maintenance support services at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in Williamtown, in the Hunter Region of NSW.

The defence, security and aerospace engineering company won assignments to maintain the airframe on F-35 in the South Pacific, manage the Asia-Pacific warehouse for the aircraft and to maintain key F-35 components – competing against Asia-based maintenance and support companies.

The NSW Government has granted $11.7 million in funding to develop infrastructure and skills in the Hunter region to ensure Australia can successfully compete with other countries for future F-35 contracts, which represent true defence exports.

Watch the video of BAE Systems Australia’s successful aerospace facility operations in Williamtown, NSW to learn more.