Lockheed Martin has beaten Northrop Grumman to win a $765 million contract to revolutionise how Australia monitors and shoots down incoming missiles.
The American aerospace prime said winning the ‘AIR6500 Phase 1’ deal would generate 230 jobs in South Australia, Brisbane, Canberra and the NSW Hunter region.
Defence giants Boeing and Raytheon were earlier knocked out of the running to create a ‘Joint Air Battle Management System’ – effectively a missile shield over Australia.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the federal government is making necessary investments to enhance the ADF and provide more coordinated and better-integrated systems.
“The Albanese Government is working at pace to ensure the ADF is equipped with modernised capabilities that will allow it to transition into a genuine integrated force optimised for national defence as we implement the findings of the Defence Strategic Review,” he said.
“The new Joint Air Battle Management System and the Medium-Range Ground-Based Air Defence System will contribute effective capabilities as part of an integrated ADF.
“These capabilities are essential in our pursuit of preserving and protecting our sovereignty and security, while also promoting stability in our region.”
Lockheed Martin has validated more than 130 Australian small to medium enterprises as potential partners; and expanded a sovereign workforce of over 200 Australian staff dedicated to AIR6500.
“This Government is maximising opportunities for Australian industry, including small and medium enterprises, as we deliver these important defence capabilities,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy.
“I’m pleased to say today’s announcement will create a significant number of high-skilled secure defence industry jobs, boosting the local economy.”
Lockheed Martin has also invested $10 million to upgrade its Endeavour Centre to engage, explore, test, design, and problem-solve with the ADF and industry.
Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand chief executive Warren McDonald said the company recognises a team approach is vital to the success of AIR6500-1 in building a sovereign Australian IAMD capability.
“Lockheed Martin is deeply committed to being the ADF’s trusted, long-term sovereign partner for AIR6500-1,” he said.
“To deliver on this key strategic national endeavour, we are leveraging our vast experience delivering battle-proven Integrated Air and Missile Defence systems and harnessing the full might of Australian industry to build a sovereign 21st Century Security capability trusted to defend Australia and its national interests now and, in the future.
“This approach will ensure Australian small to medium enterprises have ‘box seats’ in the global supply chain. The Integrated Air and Missile Defence sovereign technologies being created in Australia today will be exported to the world in the future; unlocking a $83 billion export market for Australia’s defence industry.”