South Australia – The Defence State

South Australia is at the forefront of the nation’s defence industry endeavours.

Renowned for innovation, world-class research and development, and a highly skilled workforce, South Australia holds a significant proportion of Australia’s total in-country defence material spend.

The AUKUS trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and United States of America and associated defence projects will strengthen Australia's national security and stability in our region, with record investments in skills, jobs and infrastructure underway in South Australia. 

As the Defence State and the nation’s maritime capital, South Australia is well equipped to take full advantage of opportunities in this space, already spearheading a major expansion of Australia’s naval capabilities. The nation’s new fleet of Hunter class frigates and nuclear-powered submarines will be built at the world-class Osborne Naval Shipyard, in addition to the Collins class submarine Life of Type Extension and the Air Warfare Destroyer combat management system upgrade projects, all creating opportunities for the state’s defence supply chain.

The state’s strengths and opportunities are much broader than naval shipbuilding, with growth projected across other defence domains, including aerospace, information warfare, cyber and systems.

South Australia’s global supply chain, access to prime contractors, strategic intelligence, test and evaluation facilities, and reconnaissance capabilities, combined with world-leading capabilities in artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and cyber security makes South Australia the defence state in Australia.
South Australia | The defence and space state
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Defence ecosystem

South Australia is home to a critical mass of worldclass industry delivering many of Defence’s largest and most complex projects.

Major defence companies across the maritime, aerospace, land, systems and cyber domains have their headquarters or significant operations in the state. A strong core of more than 300 defence-related SMEs provide goods and services directly to Defence, and deliver into the supply chains of prime contractors in Australia and around the world. 

South Australia also has hundreds of other SMEs that supply defence projects with a wide range of services and products. 

Seven of the world’s top 10 defence companies call South Australia home.


South Australia’s cyber ecosystem advantage

Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre

The South Australian Government is committed to positioning South Australia as the national leader of cyber capability and processing, exploiting and disseminating intelligence.

The Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre is a central connection point for businesses looking to improve their cyber resilience.

The Centre connects leaders, thinkers and doers of today and tomorrow with real opportunities to learn, activate businesses, adapt to change, and solve challenges within the digital domain.

Defence Science and Technology Group – Cyber, Intelligence and National Security division

Based at the RAAF Base Edinburgh, the Cyber, Intelligence and National Security division within the Defence Science and Technology Group leads the delivery of innovation, science and technology programs for defence intelligence, joint capabilities, and joint operations.

The division focuses on:

  • National security
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Quantum
  • Intelligence
  • Cyber
  • Joint electronic warfare.

Innovation districts

Edinburgh Defence Precinct

Key national defence research, manufacturing and sustainment hub housing the RAAF Base Edinburgh, Defence Science and Technology Group and major defence companies.

Osborne Naval Shipyard

Australia’s largest naval shipbuilding hub incorporating a critical mass of world-class warship design and construction skills. Significant upgrades are slated to make it the most technologically advanced naval shipyard in the world.

Technology Park Adelaide

Hub for systems development and integration, information communications technology, advanced manufacturing and electronics and home to over 100 small to medium enterprises, multinationals and start-ups.

Lot Fourteen Innovation District

Australia’s first ideas and innovation neighbourhood and home to the Australian Space Agency, Australian Mission Control Centre, SmartSat CRC, Defence and Space Landing Pad, Stone and Chalk Startup Hub, Adelaide (funded through the Research and Innovation Fund), Office of the South Australian Chief Entrepreneur, MIT Connection Sciences, Australian Institute for Machine Learning and the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre. The district brings together the state’s leading abilities in space, defence, Hi-Tech and creative industries. 

Tonsley Innovation District

Tonsley is an outstanding place for global investors to create new products and translate ideas into commercial success. The precinct is focused, specialising in four high-growth sectors where South Australia has a proven capacity including health, medical devices and assistive technologies, clean tech and renewable energy, software and simulation, mining and energy services. The Innovation District is also home to Factory of the Future, a purpose-built facility for industrial scale testing of new technologies and processes ahead of their use in advanced manufacturing including shipbuilding. 

Let's talk

Help for investing in South Australia's Defence sector

Sean Williams

Director, Defence and Space

Department for Trade and Investment


+61 479 182 732

Christopher Amor

Business Development Manager

Department for Trade and Investment


+61 (0) 468 771 326

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