Hunter companies making the defence industry strong: video

GAME PLAN: Ryan Stephenson, managing director for Bohemia Interactive Australia, which creates military training software. Picture: Simone De Peak.

GAME PLAN: Ryan Stephenson, managing director for Bohemia Interactive Australia, which creates military training software. Picture: Simone De Peak.

THE Hunter was well placed to capitalise on its booming defence industry, Paterson MP Bob Baldwin said.

Mr Baldwin said the Hunter had “some incredibly talented people”, with many learning their skills through the defence sector.

He named Bohemia Interactive Simulations as a leading innovator.

“They [Bohemia] developed an interactive war game, like a computer game, that militaries all over the world use,” Mr Baldwin said.

The military technology company originally operated above a Nelson Bay fish and chip shop, before moving to the Williamtown Aerospace Centre.

A preview of a Bohemia Interactive game.

Regional Development Hunter chief executive Todd Williams named defence as one of the Hunter’s seven competitive advantages.

The organisation was creating a “smart specialisation” strategy, which involved highlighting sectors expected to create the region’s future jobs.

The aim was to pinpoint the Hunter’s most promising strengths and help it remain internationally competitive.

Readers will get the chance to contribute, with a vote on the Newcastle Herald website on December 16.

Mr Baldwin said the Hunter’s defence sector had “a bright future”.

“Nothing has made me happier than seeing companies like Lockheed Martin and BAE setting up around the airport precinct,” he said.

“It’s good news for our people because it means jobs.”

HunterNet defence project director Ian Dick said major infrastructure upgrades at the Williamtown RAAF base worth more than $1 billion would boost the sector.

“It’s a big industry with a lot of opportunities,” he said.

“Defence wants everything from mowing lawns to supercomputers.”

Bohemia Interactive Australia managing director Ryan Stephenson was overseas and unavailable for comment.

Mr Stephenson told the Herald last year that clients of the company’s military training software included the US Army, UK Ministry of Defence and Australian Defence Force.

"We take the underlying technology of a computer game and repurpose it to be a training tool — a soldier sitting at a computer doing cognitive or military training," Mr Stephenson said.

"It's not like a video game, it is a video game."

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