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Australia to benefit from US defence spend

AAP logoAAP 6/09/2016

Australia is poised to benefit from billions of dollars in defence exports to the United States, US Ambassador to Australia John Berry says.

Speaking at the Land Forces defence exhibition in Adelaide on Tuesday, Mr Berry said the event had attracted attention from US defence giants Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman.

"(They) are here today because they know the value of the Australian market and the mutual benefits that accrue from our joint collaboration," he said.

"Ours is not just a strategic partnership - it is an economic one as well."

Mr Berry said Australia was the third-biggest importer worldwide of defence systems, spending more than $US2 billion ($A2.6 billion) with "a good part of that" on US defence industries.

But it was not a one-way street, with the involvement of Australian defence technology companies in the massive Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program to create $US4 billion of exports for Australia.

The US also hoped to partner in the development of Australia's $20 billion Land 400 armoured fighting vehicles, which Mr Berry described as the "JSF of the land".

BAE Systems Australia and a partnership between German company Rheinmetall Landsysteme Gmbh and US firm Northrop Grumman have been shortlisted to deliver the vehicles.

Mr Berry said the US and Australia had a shared vision to strengthen the "rules-based international order" and a key feature of their partnership was the development of compatible and innovative defence systems.

"It is a vision enshrined in Australia's Defence White Paper and one that you can count on the US to uphold its partnership in ," Mr Berry said.

"When we utilise common systems and tactics, we can confidently and efficiently deploy anywhere, any time, any place."

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