Backing small businesses to grow through defence exports

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The Hon Melissa Price MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for Science and Technology

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Ben Spencer (Minister Price’s office): +61 412 754 310
Steve Kuper (Minister Price’s office): +61 421 668 874
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26 March 2021

Six Australian small businesses have shared in more than $1.3 million in Morrison Government grants designed to boost their export potential.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the latest recipients of grants under the Defence Global Competitiveness Grant Program were now eyeing off opportunities overseas.

“We are helping businesses around the country to upgrade their manufacturing processes and equipment to increase access to international markets and overseas revenue streams,” Minister Price said.

“New South Wales business Blueprint Lab, with support from the Australian Defence Export Office, has grown from a robotics hardware start-up to a company exporting to more than 11 countries.

“This grant will support Blueprint Lab to commission a new deployable test vehicle which they will use to certify equipment to international standards, opening up further export opportunities.”

Blueprint Lab’s robotics products are exported for use by many customers including marine science institutes, oil and gas companies as well as nuclear plant operators.  

Queensland-based company Crystalaid Manufacture’s began supporting medical solutions to combat hearing loss through the use of innovative technologies.

The company transitioned to the defence sector more than five years ago and has established itself as a complex and bespoke electronics manufacturer across defence, aerospace and avionics industries.   

Crystalaid Manufacture will use its grant to purchase an automated optical inspection machine to increase the quality and export capacity of its surface-mounted technology boards.

Minister Price said another Queensland business, Frontline Manufacturing, had grown substantially as a result of the Morrison Government’s significant investment in defence capability, particularly in projects such as the LAND 400 program.

“The company specialises in manufacturing metal structures and components, suppling predominantly to defence primes,” Minister Price said.

“Frontline Manufacturing plans to leverage its domestic success to become a mid-tier defence company through exports and will use its grant to upgrade its equipment.”

WA business Orbital Corporation Limited will purchase testing equipment to increase the quality control and production capacity of its propulsion systems and flight critical components to meet increasing unmanned aerial vehicle export market demand.

“This grant will enable Orbital to not only better service its existing relationships with global primes but also to broaden its international customer base,” Minister Price said.

Another Queensland business, Ryan Aerospace, will use its grant to increase its production capability of helicopter controls for simulators, opening up additional export opportunities to the United States.

Victorian business Defendtex is working to obtain, install and commission an injection moulding line to manufacture moulded parts for defence applications in-house.

Defence Global Competitiveness Grants are available to help Australian small and medium businesses invest in projects that help to build their export capacity.

Companies can apply for the program at any time through:




The Defence Global Competitiveness Grants announced today:


Grant Amount

Grant Funding Purpose


Blueprint Lab



The grant enables Blueprint Lab to develop a deployable test vehicle to test the Reach Bravo subsea robotic arm for export, in addition to achieving US and European product certifications.



Crystalaid Manufacture



The grant enables Crystalaid Manufacturing to increase the export capacity of surface mounted technology boards by purchasing an Automated Optical Inspection Machine.



Frontline Manufacturing



The grant enables Frontline Manufacturing to upgrade computer numerical control (CNC) machines in order to become more competitive and efficient with product turnaround times.



Orbital Corporation Limited



The grant allows the Orbital Corporation to acquire testing equipment to increase quality control and production of integrated propulsion systems and flight critical components in order to meet increasing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) export market demand.



Ryan Aerospace



The grant enables Ryan Aerospace to purchase a high-end 3D scanner and 3D printer, including associated software and training.





Defendtex Military Products



The grant enables Defendtex to acquire and install an Injection Moulding Line to produce commercial quantities of defence related technologies.


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